When I was about 20, I received a letter in the mail that said for a 5 dollar investment, I could get a steady stream of cash income. It seemed like a great deal to me, so I sent for the information. I got a letter back explaining the process, and it had a few other addresses on it. I was directed to send 5 more dollars to the next person on the list, and he would send me the next thing I needed to know. So I sent 5 more dollars and got a sheet back that said I was to send letters to other people, and now my name would be on the list, so I would start getting money. There were testimonies of people who where rolling around in cash and throwing it up in the air and screaming, and paying off their mortgages and buying great cars and so on.
I prepared for the long haul, because this seemed like a good thing that was going to make me rich. I invested 86 dollars into printing and postage and sent out 200 letters. I was just waiting for the cash to start rolling in so that I could send out 2000 more letters and really get this thing going. I didn't have the second and third parts to the program yet, but the testimonies had me convinced that this was going to be a sure thing. I never stopped to think about the fact that there wasn't any product or service.
I think my total investment in this venture was $101.
My total income? $15.
Soon after this, or perhaps in response to it, I can't remember, someone said to me, "if it's too good to be true, it probably is". I have used this motto to screen many decisions in my life, both financial and otherwise, and it has kept me out of some pretty bad pickles.
But here's the thing: Sometimes it just isn't true. If we live life in all areas jaded by the belief that really good things can't or don't happen, we will miss out on the best things in life. I was feeling blessed yesterday and started thinking how many things I have that are too good to be true. The list in my mind was staggering and so it got me to thinking how this concept has some merit at times, but perhaps it can get in the way of pursuing things that we should not give up on so easily. So here are the top few things that came to mind that are too good to be true.
THINGS IN MY LIFE THAT seem TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
Jesus Christ has redeemed my soul from the curse of sin and I am in relationship with him.
I have the most wonderful, amazing, woman as my wife and life partner and companion. When I married her I didn't have an ounce of realization about all the ways we were the perfect compliment for each other. At times I am overcome by the gift that she is to me.
I have 6 wonderful children who I love more than words can express. True, they have challenged me in many ways, but that's just part of the journey. Without them, I would not be who I am today (the good parts that is:)
I have authentic friendships with many people, ones where I can share the truth about me whatever it happens to be and they just love and accept me anyway.
I have 3 wonderful, talented, open, and caring sisters.
My parents loved each other and stayed married for over 50 years until death parted them.
My Church family is a loving, grace filled community of Christ followers who are flawed as I am but are still pressing forward and loving people both within and outside the church.
I have a great mother in law.
I have a job where people extend to me the privilege of entering into their lives and struggles with them. I am humbled by that opportunity.
I live in a beautiful place in the world, a place that others travel to for vacation. On top of that, I live in a secluded place where nature is all around and there is much peace. On top of that we have been blessed with the care of many animals that enrich our lives in so many ways. On top of that, our neighbors are good and have been generous to us. They have given us wood for burning, tomatoes for eating, and let us use pasture and land for grazing.
We have over 60 volunteers that come out at one time or another to help PEACE Ranch. These are people who are generous with their time and are willing to give to others because they have been blessed themselves.
I REALLY enjoy my Kubota, but it is WAY down my list of things that are too good to be true in my life. Relationships, love, friendship, commitment, perseverance, humility, generosity, community--shared life together--this is what is too good to be true--but it is.
So whenever you think that something is too good to be true, think about it for awhile. Things that are too good to be true financially include extreme risk or dishonesty or scam. Things that are too good to be true relationally may include extreme risk as well, such as the risk to trust again after being betrayed or abused in the past. These things take wisdom and courage to determine, but...
Don't dismiss out of hand the possibility of a relationship restored, an addiction defeated, or that the grace of God can reach you right where you are..even though it's too good to be true.