06 April 2011

The Tragedy of Untapped Riches

Kent Hughes relates a story:
Mrs. Bertha Adams was 71 years old when she died alone in West Palm Beach, Florida on Easter Sunday 1976.

The coroner’s report read, 'Cause of Death . . . malnutrition.' After wasting away to fifty pounds she could no longer stay alive.

When the state authorities made their preliminary investigation of her home, they found a veritable 'pigpen . . . the biggest mess you can imagine.' One seasoned inspector declared he had never seen a dwelling in greater disarray. Bertha had begged food at her neighbors' doors and had gotten what clothes she had from the Salvation Army. From all appearances she was a penniless recluse--a pitiful and forgotten widow.

But such was not the case! Amid the jumble of her filthy, disheveled belongings were found two keys to safe-deposit boxes at two different local banks. The discovery was unbelievable. The first box contained over 700 AT&T stock certificates, plus hundreds of other valuable notes, bonds, and solid financial securities, not to mention cash amounting to $200,000. The second box had no certificates, just cash--$600,000 to be exact.

Bertha Adams was a millionaire and then some!

Yet she died of starvation.
--Hughes, Sermon on the Mount, p. 205

'. . . in every way you were enriched in him . . .' --1 Corinthians 1:5

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