There is an overabundance of books out there that teach you how to be rich. Many of these books provide good ideas, especially for people who are clueless about finances.
There are business organizations that focus on fighting financial illiteracy and these are good. On the other hand, there are seminars that promise you the moon and the stars—that after attending you will be wealthy, be able to buy a luxury car, travel the world. Stay away from this rubbish!
You will never hear me say, write a book, or hold seminars saying, “I Want You to Get Rich.” Instead, I want you to be rich. Getting rich with money and being rich as a person are two different things. There are wealthy people with loads of cash who wallow in poverty as far as living life and pursuing meaning is concerned.
If you look at Scripture, the apostle Paul tells Timothy to command rich people not to be arrogant. Now, let me be clear. There are people without money who are also arrogant, especially the envious and the insecure ones. But they are marginalized and cannot do much except to flap their mouths. But it’s an entirely different thing when people with tons of money become arrogant. They can really go out and harm people.
Have you ever met rich people who are arrogant?
Sometimes something happens to people who become rich. The inclination is to become arrogant. Why do they become arrogant? The unfortunate thing about this is that we help them become more arrogant.
Have you ever found yourself in a party where there is a circle of people and an extremely rich person is there? And everybody seems to make him the center of the circle? And that person makes the rest of us feel like we are mere mortals?
And whatever they say, everybody seems to agree, “Yes, you’re right, you’re right...” Most of us agree with rich people because they are so rich they can’t be wrong. They’re probably the smartest person in that circle.
Because when a person gets rich they think they get smarter. They think that their IQ goes up with their income. You may have become rich because you’re smart, but getting rich didn’t make you smart.
Paul says: Do not be arrogant or put your hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. When you start to have more money, when you get that raise, those dividends, those promotion, bonuses, when all the things are looking good, something begins to happen to your hope. As your lifestyle increases, your hope begins to migrate toward the accum ulation of wealth.
And then the fear of losing it all is even greater. The economic recession that has sent many rich people into bankruptcy becomes a horror that haunts rich people all then time. This is why there is a saying that goes this way: “The wealthier they are the more afraid they are of dying.’ Because they don’t want to lose it all.
The writer of Proverbs says, “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city...”
You begin to think that once you have riches, estate planning, then you become invincible and save your way to safety. So their hope shifts from something or someone to their stuff. I hope you become rich. I hope you have tons of money. But I hope you do not become arrogant. I hope you use your money to help and bless others who don’t have it.
Why do you want to have everything money can buy? Where would you put it all in the first place?
Print ed: 05/13