I felt lost. I could tell by the way the conversation was going I didn't belong there. It was out of my league, I thought. They were talking about the stock market. So many ordinary people in the past few years became millionaires because of simple investment strategies and a lot of good timing. Average people jumped on the bandwagon looking for a piece of the action. Many still lost their shirts because they just didn't understand.
But me? I just never had the opportunity.
"Bob, you must have had some cash saved up some where." one friend queried. "You know, some extra cash."
"Jim, I haven't known the term 'extra cash' for years." I said laughing. "Sure, I have some tucked away. But it's safe right where it is."
"Where, Bob? Does your mom still have your piggy bank?" one wise guy shouted. They all laughed.
The small talk continued as I moved slowly across the room away from this group. I felt totally detached from them. Yet many of them were the same kids I came to know as buddies and playmates back in our old neighborhood days.
Yes, they seemed to have it all. At least all that money could buy.
I said my goodbyes and headed off in my '98 Mazda with 55,000 + miles on it.
The next day the phone rang early. I was just pouring my first cup of coffee and reliving some of the aggravating thoughts from the evening before.
"Bob. How are you? This is Jim. I didn't get you too early, did I?" he said.
"No, Jim, this is fine," I said. I thought of making some sarcastic remark about getting up early to raid my piggy bank, but I didn’t. I was curious. Jim and I hadn’t hung out together in years.
"How would you like to meet me for breakfast?" he asked.
"Sure, I'll see you at our old hangout in about twenty minutes," I said.
We were enjoying our meal and chatting about the way things used to be. But I sensed throughout the conversation that this meeting had another purpose. Finally I understood.
"Bob, my wife's leaving me," he said during a lull in the conversation. "I don't understand it. I gave her everything she wanted. She had the best clothes, a beautiful house, and our kids wanted for nothing."
"Do you love her?" I asked. "Yes, of course. God, did you see that necklace she was wearing yesterday?"
"Oh, I'm sorry I forgot that love is weighed in karats, isn't it?" I said.
He just stared at me coldly. He knew what I was saying.
"Jim, you’re measuring love and success in assets accumulated. But love doesn't appear on a spreadsheet. If it did, it would be under ‘intangibles.’ Things you know have value but cannot be measured."
We spent about another hour just talking about what went wrong. He seemed defeated, and I was determined. I would not let him walk away thinking that there was nothing he could do to change this outcome.
So I switched the conversation over to investing.
"Enough about this stuff, Jim. Let's talk about things you specialize in," I said. "I need to make an investment.'
"Bob, you said last night you had nothing to invest. You know if you broke into that piggy bank..."
"No, Jim, I've got a different kind of capital, and I'd like to invest it in you," I said.
"Yes. You see, when my life took a wrong turn and I hit one of the lowest points ever, I discovered that when I thought I had nothing, I still had my faith in God. I call it 'spiritual capital.' It's part of the intangible wealth we all have when collecting ‘things' has lost its luster," I said, leaning a little closer to look him in the eyes.
"As a result, God has kept my life full of intangibles in return for trusting Him. So I'm asking God to transfer some of my spiritual capital to your account. The incredible thing is that this investment always pays a return. But there's a catch. You need to call on my Broker in person. He has some inside information on where you need to invest next."
"Bob, I haven't talked to God in years. He won't listen to me," he said.
"Wait, Jim I have Him on the line right now. He's used to being placed on hold," I said, smiling. I held my hand out to Jim, then I closed my eyes and proceeded..."God, this is Jim. He wants some help investing in intangibles."
We prayed right there in the coffee shop.