The Madison County Journal
November 21, 2001
The only wealth that
Earlier this week, a friend brought by a new CD containing 10
traditional gospel songs performed on a modern digital keyboard.
Jim Auge arranged, performed and recorded the songs, then used
what money he had available to have 60 copies printed. That's
right. There are 60 copies in existence. Only if he can sell
most of them will he be able to print more.
Jim is fine with those results. Why? Because making money was
not the motivation behind the project. Jim did not devote hundreds
of hours to collecting, arranging, recording, overdubbing and
mixing the 10 songs to get rich. He did it out of his love of
music and his devotion to his faith.
You see, Jim Auge is a seeker. Jesus instructed us to "seek
ye first the Kingdom of God." He further told us that we
will find the kingdom within ourselves. Because we are all different,
we will find the kingdom in different aspects of our own existence.
For Jim, that is his music.
Now I am quite sure that if the record becomes successful and
produces lots of money for Jim, he will be pleased. But if he
never sells the original 60, he will still consider the work
to be successful. Jim has already received full compensation
for his effort. His "pay" is the music and the blessings
he knows his friends will receive from it.
I am sure of one thing. The Kingdom of God will not be found
in our wallets. If we devote our entire life to seeking money,
we will never find the Kingdom. That is why the Scriptures say,
"What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and
loses his soul?"
I know that we have to be concerned with economic matters. We
are expected to provide our own food, shelter and clothing. We
are responsible for the health, safety and comfort of our families.
We should be responsible for our own retirement. If we all depended
on "government" to provide our material needs, we would
all go without.
Someone has to earn the money, even government money. But when
making money is our only motivation, we always lose sight of
the real purpose, seeking God's Kingdom.
Each of us carries the keys to the kingdom within our own soul.
The kingdom may manifest itself in our music, in our writing,
the quality of the furniture we build or the assistance we give
to the truly needy. I am convinced that when we devote ourselves
to the search for the Kingdom of God within ourselves, our efforts
will generate as much money as we need. I am equally convinced
that if we conduct our search for the purpose of making money,
we will never find the kingdom.
Jim Auge is a wealthy man. Through his music and his faith, he
is drawing closer to the Kingdom of God. And that is the only
wealth that matters.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His email address
The Madison County Journal
November 21, 2001
Things to be thankful for
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what's good. So here are
some things to be thankful for in Madison County:
·Be thankful that Madison County is a place where the
old Samaritan spirit is still alive. It was obvious after the
recent national crisis. And it's obvious on a typical day as
well. For instance, I backed my car into a ditch last year and
four vehicles stopped to offer help - two of those offering assistance
were from the Hull Volunteer Fire Department. Madison County
has a lot of people willing to lend a hand when someone is in
·Along the same lines, be thankful that the county has
volunteers for 11 fire departments. There's little that expresses
love for your community as well as the willingness to enter a
burning building without even expecting a paycheck. This task
can prove perilous at times. Loy Williams, a volunteer firefighter
in neighboring Banks County, lost his life while fighting a fire
a couple of years ago. Apart from the danger, there is the sacrifice
of sleep and convenience. So remember to thank those who volunteer
for this service.
·Be thankful for the police officers and deputies who
often deal with people at their worst.
·Be thankful that there are people in the county willing
to endure the ugliness that accompanies political life.
·Be thankful that county leaders are thinking proactively,
considering what future growth will mean to Madison County.
·Be thankful for country smells. I like to drive down
Madison County roads with my windows down and I'm sure a lot
of you do too.
·Be thankful for cows. There are a lot of them. And it's
a sight when a group of them wade out in a pond with the water
up to their nostrils. There's something poetic about that.
·Be thankful that county leaders plan to widen Commerce-Neese
Road, which seems more like a golf course cart path than a road.
Every time I pass a car on that road I feel like I'm going to
veer off into a ditch.
·Be thankful that there are several citizens who rarely
miss a commissioners' meeting. They are true county watchdogs.
·Be thankful that the county has a 911 system.
·Be thankful that the county will have a new jail in the
next few months.
·Be thankful that the county will soon have an animal
·Be thankful that Madison County has one of the top recreation
·Be thankful that you have a good selection of barbecue
in the county.
·Be thankful that there's still a small-town, first-name-basis
feel in the county.
·Be thankful that uplifting stories are abundant in Madison
County. Think of Fran Black, independent despite having no legs
and being blind in one eye. She even cuts down trees and helps
others with their plumbing. Think of Tiny Hanson, who passed
up a kidney transplant he desperately needed, letting the organ
go to a stranger also in need. Or think of Susan Risler giving
her kidney to fellow Madison County teacher Priscilla Harrison.
We've had some bad times lately.
But if you make the effort, you can always find things to be
And we should all make this effort more than one day a year.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.