Men with No Money Who Left Us Great Riches

Men with No Money Who Left Us Great Riches

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, . . .but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."—Matt. 6:19-20

Some of the world's greatest treasures have been left to us by men who died either penniless or with almost no money.

The first and greatest example we remember is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whose Father and our Father owns the whole universe and all in it, yet had only the clothing he wore when he died. No house, no bank account, no chest of gold hidden away, not even a purse to keep money in. Because he left no money for his mother, Mary, he asked his beloved disciple John to take care of her. But how rich was the world because of Jesus' life!

Just a few years ago Frederick M. Vinson, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the highest judge in the land, died after thirty years of faithful service to his country in many public offices. None of them paid very much, but he cared more for service to his fellow man than for riches. When he died, he left behind only a few thousand dollars, less than ten thousand, to be exact! But our land is better and finer for Frederick M. Vinson's faithful and devoted service.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, President of the United States, and one of its greatest patriots, built a lovely home, Monticello, just outside the town of Charlottesville, Virginia. He loved this brick mansion, which still stands as he built it. But because he received so little pay for his public work and his expenses were so high, he was forced to mortgage Monticello. This meant he borrowed money and said he would give the lender his home if he couldn't pay it back. Jefferson died without any money—this great patriot and one of America's greatest men. He put his country first and himself last.

Wolfgang Mozart was one of the world's greatest musicians. The music he wrote nearly two hundred years ago in his native Austria is loved and played everywhere. God gave to him a remarkable power to compose beautiful melodies. Although he died while only thirty-five, he left many, many great works of music.

But did he make money? No. He was poorly paid. Also, he was a poor manager in money affairs. When he died in 1791, only the cheapest kind of funeral was held. No friends went to the cemetery to see him buried. Soon the exact location of his grave was forgotten, and today nobody knows really where this great man's body was laid. To make matters worse, he was buried in the pauper's cemetery, that is, in the cemetery set aside by the city for poor people whose families couldn't buy any ground anywhere else. How rich the world is, though, because of Mozart's music!
Many other great men have died poor after having made our world a better place to live.

Surely God does not want us to neglect those we love. Certainly he wants us to provide our families with enough food, clothing, and other necessary things.

But we can easily believe, as so many do, that making money and buying things are what God wants us to do most of all. Many people pile up riches and leave the world poorer. They become greedy, selfish, and spoiled. Jesus warned us against the love of money and said it could destroy our souls.

Are you making the world richer or poorer? Even if you have no money, you can make it a better place than you found it.

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