Friday, June 3, 2011

How to Be Wealthy

Compared to the rest of the world, most Americans are wealthy, but the funny thing about wealth is that those who are wealthy seldom realize they are wealthy. We’re always looking at those who have more than us. If we have two cars, we’re looking at those who have three cars and a boat, not realizing that some people can’t even afford one car. One of the things that adds to the problem is that people look at the bills they have each month and wonder how they will pay them. It’s hard to feel wealthy when your bank account is empty at the end of the month.

But we’re wealthy. And Christians more so. Christians are heirs to the wealth of God and he owns everything. Unfortunately, some prosperity preachers have tried to tell people that that means God wants them to have a lot of money. I think a better way to look at it is that we have a trust fund of immeasurable value. It is ours, but God is holding it for us so that we don’t use it the wrong way.

Since you are wealthy, wouldn’t you like to feel wealthy? Allow me to suggest some things that will allow you to feel wealthy.

1. Live Below Your Means

People who play the lottery dream of winning big so that they will have money for whatever they want. The sad fact is that many of the people who win big spend it all and are left worse off than they were before. They buy big because they have the money. The relatives come out of the woodwork with their hands out. Soon it is all gone. That explains why some people believe they just can’t live on $50 million.

Rather than trying to get enough money to buy everything you want, it is better to change your wants. Learn to be content with what God has given you. The next time you buy a vehicle, if you are able to pay cash (even if that means buying a used car) and you leave the dealership with money still in the bank, you will feel like you had as much money as you needed when you needed it. You will feel wealthier than the guy who is moaning because he doesn’t have enough money to buy a new yacht.

2 . Be Generous

Another thing we imagine when we imagine about the wealthy is that they would be able to give us less fortunate money if they just would. Hasn’t it crossed your mind that Bill Gates could just give you a couple million dollars and make you instantly wealthy? He has so many millions. He wouldn’t miss a couple of them. In fact, Bill Gates does give a lot of his money away, but that’s not the point.

We see the wealthy as being able to give generously, so if we are able to give generously then we will feel like we are wealthy. Think about the last time a missionary visited your church. I imagine the offering plate came around for you to donate some money to his work. Perhaps you let it pass by because you didn’t feel like you could afford to give money. Perhaps you dropped a few dollars in because you didn’t want people think you weren’t willing to give. But there were probably a few people there who pulled out their billfold or their check book and gave generously. But when they gave their gift, they slipped it under the ones and the fives because they didn’t want other people to feel bad that they couldn’t give as much. Those people are the ones who feel wealthy. If you look at their annual income, they may make less than you, but they feel wealthy because they are able to give generously.

3. Trust God

I’m wealthy in friends. If for some reason I were to lose everything I own, I know I would have a place to sleep, food to eat, and clothes to wear because I have friends and family that would make sure of that. I look at the homeless population and I can’t help but wonder, where are their friends and family? I realize that some of them have alienated their family or the drinking and drugs prevents people from allowing them to stay in their home. But I can’t help but think how wealthy I am in friends.

The greatest friend of all is Jesus. Even if I had no other friends, Jesus has promised to provide for my needs. He went so far as to say that we should give no thought to the basic necessities of life. That ought to make us feel wealthy. No matter what, God will provide for the needs of those who trust him. Isn’t that one of the things we think of when we think of wealth? With wealth, we think will have no need to worry about food, clothing, and shelter because we will always have more than enough for those. With God, even if the bank account is below empty, we still have enough for food, clothing, and shelter.

We have so much. We are wealthy and we don’t even realize it. Instead of being so worried about how we can obtain even more wealth, let’s learn to appreciate the wealth we already have.