What will change in your life when you become rich? Things will change. And for many people, these changes are so drastic, that they unconsciously sabotage their wealth-building efforts.
The verse that scares people about wealth was this phrase uttered by Jesus:
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” – Matthew 16:26 (NIV)
They gather from this, that wealth is an “either-or” proposition. They think that you can either be poor and go to heaven, or be wealthy and lose your soul. Right? I’m sure you’ve heard people say things that infer that.
I think the reason they believe those things is because of their beliefs about how people become wealthy. The thoughts that I come across most are that rich people got their money in one of these three ways:
- 1. Inheritance
- 2. Being greedy
- 3. Being lucky
Let’s go through some examples of the phrases that I have heard, just to show how prevalent these thoughts are.
Wealth By Inheritance
I have never in my life have come across someone that got their money by being a “trust-fund baby.” And I know a bazillion people, and a lot of rich ones too. Based on my experience, the number of people that got their wealthy by inheritance is exceptionally rare.
I think that people think it is prevalent because those few individuals that got their money by inheritance are getting a lot of publicity—far more than anyone else on the planet. People like Paris Hilton, and Nichole Richie, the members of Kennedy family are the only ones that pop into my mind.
I believe that they get so much attention, because people are covetous of how easy it was for them to get wealthy. Wealth without work… what a lovely concept!
Wealth By Being Greedy
My nephew posted on his facebook account yesterday a news story about the amount of profit that Exxon-Mobil made this last quarter. Immediately, everyone started posting about how greedy the company and its executives were.
Do they know who owns Exxon-Mobil? It is all the retirement funds that people buy. You know, 401K’s and IRA’s. They are the owners, and these people demand that the company make a profit, and the more the better. In fact, it would be against the law for the corporate executives to forego making a profit for their shareholders.
And besides, it is not Exxon-Mobil that is selling to the customer. There are layers of middle-men in the situation that bid on the price of oil, because they are the ones that are selling to the customers. They want to make sure that they have a supply of the product to get through to the customer, and they are competing against other middle-men. So they try to offer Exxon-Mobil a price that is just slightly above what his competitor is offering, just to insure that he has a product to sell. It is this back-and-forth bidding by the middle-men that drive up the price, based on the uncertainty of production.
Wealth By Luck
People really believe the wealth-by-luck reason to explain why others (an not them) are wealthy. They hear phrases like: “rich people put on their pants one-leg-at-a-time,” which indicates that they are just like them. So how did these people that are just-like-them, get wealthy? It must be luck, because everything else is equal.
It also explains when they see teenage pop stars that make millions of dollars, seemingly overnight. And they don’t think that they have any more talent than the kids that sing in the church choir at Christmas time. How can it be? Obviously “luck,” right?
But they never see the army of promoters and agents working behind the scenes to make these talented entertainers into instant successes. How many people worked for Disney to make Miley Cyrus a success? I’m sure that you too could be an instant success if you had an army of publicists pushing your brand out to the media.
In reality, the proven method of wealth is through wisdom. I’ve been saying this over and over, because I truly believe it —and besides, the bible says so too.
By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. Ezekiel 28:4 (NIV)
Wealth comes from an application of your wisdom. If you’re not becoming wealthy, it is either because you don’t have wisdom, or you are applying that wisdom incorrectly. To me, not applying wisdom correctly is the same thing as not having wisdom… right?
So we’re now back to my original question:
What Do You Lose When You Gain the World?
Things change, and while you gain money, you lose things too. The first thing you lose is some family and friends.
The reason is because of what they think of you once you have earned and have accumulated wealth. They now think you are: “greedy.”
They know you didn’t inherit it, as they knew you when you were poor. And they didn’t see you win the lottery, so the only reason left in their mind is that you must be greedy.
In other words, in their minds, you must have lost your “soul.”
So… how does it feel to be treated like Exxon-Mobil? Do you like that feeling? Does it make you angry that you’ve been abandoned by many friends and a few family members?
I can sympathize with you. People treat you like you’re in league with the devil once you’ve accumulated some cash. Instead of rejoicing with you, or asking for access to your wisdom, they’d rather ask you for some cash and berate you behind your back when you don’t give it to them.
Because of this, you will de-friend a number of people as you accumulate money. And it hurts. I guarantee you that it hurts.
Nobody Cares About Your Hurts
That is the next thing you lose when you get wealthy. You lose the ability to tap into compassion of others, including other Christians.
People don’t care about the emotional pain of rich people! Not one iota. In fact, they get a little giddy when they see a rich person stumble. “What goes around, comes around” they think. Obviously, since the rich person got their money by being greedy, it must be karma that is getting even with them when they stumble and fall in life.
The feeling that I sense is that poor people don’t believe that rich people need Jesus.
To be honest, this is one reason I created this web site. I believe everyone has a calling to someone else in the world. Most people feel called by the Lord to help the poor. And I am grateful for them, and I pray for their mission. But I don’t feel that God has laid this mission on me personally. I feel called to help the rich, because they have needs too; and no one else is serving those needs. They are hanging out there in the wind, without anyone standing by to encourage them and to offer them hope.
Nobody Wants Your Advice
Not only don’t people care about you once you have money, they also don’t care to listen to you either. This hurts too. But it hurts the poor person even more.
If it is “wisdom” that leads to wealth, then getting wisdom down to the poor people would help them rise out of their poverty. But they don’t want it. In fact, they resent it, just as they resent the message of the bible.
How can you help people that resent you? You can’t.
The poor person thinks that those with money are all trying to “keep them down,” sort of like a slave. They don’t trust the information and advice that comes from someone with money. They would rather trust the advice of their broke friend, as if that makes any sense. So they are always stuck in the loop of poverty.
The message of building wealth is not an easy one. It requires work, investment, and helping someone else get what they want first. It normally takes a lot of time and effort. That means it is hard, which is a message they don’t want to hear. They want wealth accumulation to be fast and easy.
To make it easier, you need wisdom. And wisdom is all around you for the asking.
I find that rich people are generous with their wisdom. They are craving to share it. And to them, it is far more precious than their money. So calling them greedy is a complete insult since they are begging to give you something more precious than money. But nobody wants it.
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)
Listen to the wise. Don’t resent them for their money. It is how to make money, God’s way.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.