A wealthy man


I have concluded that I am a wealthy man, much wealthier than I thought I would ever be. It has taken a long time over several decades, but I have ownership over much.

People may often describe their relationship with physicians in the possessive. For example, “Dr. Brown is my doctor.” It is certainly not meant with any disrespect and implies a personal attachment.

With this understanding in mind, I feel like a person who has an entire stable filled with valuable thoroughbreds. I have a general practitioner. Then there is my cardiologist, my dermatologist, my orthopedist, my neurologist, my urologist, my internist, my podiatrist, and my nurse practitioner. How wealthy must I be to have all these fine people on my staff!

Of course, most people must get to a certain stage of life before all these folks can be added to their own list. In my younger days, all I had was a doctor. Since I only saw him on an infrequent basis, I do not know if he had a specialty. But with age, most of us find the necessity to acquire a more diversified staff due to changing physical conditions. I used to have a dentist, but that spot is vacant, and I am looking around.

I probably need a bariatrician, but I have not added one of those to my medical staff. I also do not have a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a therapist (although some think I could use all three of those), or, thankfully, an oncologist.

If someone asks from which college I graduated, I tell them that my college is East Tennessee State University. Although another minister might ask, “What seminary did you go to?” sometimes they ask, “What’s your seminary?” I gladly tell them that I own two seminaries. MY seminaries are The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry.

I do not know why we speak in the possessive about these people and institutions. I suspect that it indicates an emotional attachment. Maybe it is just easier and takes less words to say, “Doctor Brown is my cardiologist,” than to say, “Doctor Brown is the person to whom I go for heart issues.” We often ask the question in a way that implies possession: “Who’s your dermatologist?”

We do this with other entities as well. Monday evening, I asked a young man, “Who is your college football team?” Mine is the University of Tennessee Volunteers. I did not go to college there, but that is my team, nevertheless. I had two good parents who gave me a great childhood, and I have a younger brother that I love and respect very much. I do not “own” them either, but they are mine.

My wife (see what I did there?) is Cindy. Though I neither possess nor “own” her, she is still my wife. Together we had three sons that, even though they are well into adulthood, are still my sons. Their children? All twelve are my grandchildren. The three great-grandchildren? Mine as well. And even though I do not technically “own” the church I helped to plant and prosper, people still ask me, “Where is your church?”

In some way, I am either physically or emotionally tied to the things I say that are “mine.” I suppose that is why we describe things, people, and concepts in such a way that it is implied that we own them, when, in fact, we do not.

Even if I do not have ownership of friends, family members, church, the country, this state of Georgia, or my home state of Tennessee, all are important to me. Thus, they are mine and I am theirs. Though I certainly do not “own” God, yet, He is, indeed, my God. More importantly, because His Son, Jesus, purchased me with His own blood, I am truly and irrevocably His.

Whatever the size of my bank account, all of this — these things, institutions, groups, and people that are mine — make me very wealthy, very prosperous, and immensely blessed. Yes, I am a wealthy man.

[David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). Worship services are on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and on livestream at www.ctk.life. He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South (www.midsouthdiocese.life). He may be contacted at davidepps@ctk.life.]