Madison County Opinion...

November 21, 2001


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
November 21, 2001

Frankly Speaking

The only wealth that matters
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 is frankg@mcga.net.

 


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Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
November 21, 2001

From the Editor's Desk

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 need.
·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 shelter.
·Be thankful that Madison County has one of the top recreation departments around.
·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 thankful for.
And we should all make this effort more than one day a year.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.


 


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