Abu Dhabi: what is wealth?

What a dry place, and yet this city founded on your consumption of oil has water from somewhere. Enough for pools to swim in, bottles to drink for every guest. We went through customs, got a hotel room, went to that rooftop pool and Jacuzzi, sat on the sun deck, relaxed, looked out over the city. It’s a marvel, even if Dubai is showing them up. There’s a Ferrari theme park here, etc. But… when the oil, a.k.a. the money, dries up, what will be left here? Nothing.

On the plane ride in, I watched a couple gangster and spy movies. Gangster’s lives make for interesting movie scripts, but at the end, there’s a little footnote. “Died in prison” or whatever. I reflected on how I, and many of my friends to an even greater degree, take risks on a daily basis, risks that result in travelling the world, risks that can even land us in prison, it’s true. There are lots of ways we go through similar stresses that gangsters or spies do, travelling the world, but without the first class tickets or white tuxedos, and many fewer martinis. Admittedly, white wine on the plane. If it’s free. But the results are not the same, the effects upon our psyches, because instead of death, we hope to bring life. Instead of wealth as our goal, wealth is our goal. Just a different kind. The kind that builds cities that outlast oil.

What I am getting at here is that what we chase and hope for is a diamond, a watered city in the desert, but it’s one that doesn’t shut down for lack of funding. Ever. Now that’s real wealth. And what does it cost you to live there? Read to the end.

Isaiah 43:18 Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

and streams in the wasteland.

20 The wild animals honor me,

the jackals and the owls,

because I provide water in the wilderness

and streams in the wasteland,

to give drink to my people, my chosen,

21 the people I formed for myself

that they may proclaim my praise.


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The author lives in Goshen, Indiana with his wife and four children. He is self-employed as a leadership coach working with business executives, writers and other artists, and spiritual leaders. His clients enjoy business growth, increased vision and purpose, work/family lifestyle balance, and freedom from writer’s block.

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