CBN.com Everybody wants to be a millionaire, but only a few people ever get there. Aurelio Baretto is one. As the owner of Dogloo, a manufacturer of igloo-style doghouses, Aurelio met his million-dollar goal and some! He vacationed in Hawaii for months on end, ate at the best restaurants and always wore designer clothes.
“Everything I had dreamed about, I got,” he says. “I remember as a little kid, like any boy, you want a Porsche Turbo. I remember getting in the car, paying cash for the car, and being able to drive away. I hadn’t even gotten home, and I thought, ‘Is this it? Where’s the bang? Where’s the buzz?’”
Aurelio discovered that having money wasn’t all it was cracked up to be but making it controlled him.
“I was only as good as my company. If the company was up, I was up. If the company was down, I was down,” Aurelio says.
So Aurelio began questioning his insatiable hunger for money.
“I was in a group of probably 50 other well-to-do business owners. Some were worth a million; some were worth a hundred. None of them were happy,” he remembers.
What Aurelio was really looking for was identity.
“I wanted to fit in more than anything else. I was never the person that fit. I was always on the outside.”
So why was that so important to Aurelio? He confesses he’s not sure. “Insecurities, I guess,” he says. “Deep down, the goals were driven by a fear of losing it all. I grew up in a wealthy family in Cuba, and at age seven, Castro took everything we had. So when we came to this country, we came with $20. My dad had to start all over again. In the back of my mind, I thought, ‘I’m not going back there. I’m not going to lose everything.’”
So Aurelio kept playing the money game. He finally sold his business and came away with millions of dollars. Financially, he was set for the rest of his life. Emotionally, he was completely bankrupt.
On Aurelio’s 37th birthday, he couldn’t get out of bed. He kept asking himself, “Who in the heck am I? What value do I provide anyone besides making money? Is that all I’m good for?”
He was so depressed that Aurelio seriously considered suicide.
“I was just at the end. The money wasn’t buying me happiness. I wasn’t involved with the company anymore, so I didn’t have anything that would occupy my mind. The goals were gone. It just hit me: if this is all the world has to offer, I’m out of here.”
But Aurelio didn’t know what would happen to him if he died, so he didn’t take his life. Just a few months later, he was donating computers to his children’s school, when the principal there asked him a few pointed questions.
“He looks at me and says, ‘Is there something missing in your life? I want you to come to my office, and I’m going to introduce you to this man.’
“I was thinking, ‘I hope this guy’s not going to talk to me about God.’ I talk to God all the time. Sure enough, I walk in his office. He shuts the door. I look to the left, and he’s got a Bible there. I’m thinking, ‘Oh man, what an idiot. I have walked into this ambush.’ I sit down, and he says, ‘Do you know Jesus?’ I was like, ‘Okay, yeah, sure, I know Jesus. He’s the Son of God.’ He says, ‘Okay, that’s good. What else?’ I even guessed at this. I had no clue when He was born or when He died, but I thought, ‘Well, he had to be born at Christmas. Did he die at Easter?’ Real good, but he kept getting closer and closer to the reality that I had not clue who Jesus was.
“He shared the gospel, and I just broke down crying in his office. It was the first time in my life where I felt love, that somebody would die on a cross for my past sin, my present sin, and my future sin."
Aurelio asked the Lord to forgive him, and He did. “I accepted Him as my Lord and my Savior that day, and He washed me clean. So He was able to do something that I wasn’t able to do.”
It’s been eight years since that monumental moment. Aurelio is more in love with God and His Word than ever. Today, he has purpose. He runs a Christian retail chain called C28, where he boldly shares the hope of Jesus that was once missing from his life.
“What I was longing for was to be part of something. Well, hey, I became something. I became part of something that is not going to fade away. It’s going to follow me. Eternity is waiting for me. Jesus is waiting for me. All the things I had built up, I knew wouldn’t last, but the relationship that I have right now is between me and Him. It’s going to last me for eternity.”
So, what is Aurelio’s message today?
He says, “No matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done, God is love. He shows his love and His power through His mercy. He is waiting for you because He knows you by name. This is the man; this is the God that created you. Go to Him. If the Holy Spirit is talking to you right now, don’t wait. Make the change. That paradise, it’s there for you. It’s there for anybody and all you have to do is ask."
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