Of course, the first thing to think about…
What is wealthy?
- Some wish to be like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. Rich beyond any measuring tool they can imagine! More money than you know what to do with. Teams of people to manage the accounts. Money invested to make more money. And the pile of coins just keep growing and growing.
- Perhaps you would like to be Midas – everything you touch turns to Gold. Bill and Warren are not like this. They have their share of setbacks and failures. Only, they have so much it’s not likely to upset their apple cart, now. But in the early days of wealth building? I am sure there were some teetering moments at the edge of success or failure.
- Other’s wish for the success that produces wealth and they look to the performers, stars and athletes. Of course, many of these successful people pay for their success through extremely hard training, schooling, challenges, and some time living at the bottom of the heap.
- Still, way too many others dream of winning the lottery… Did you know a high percentage of winners are just as dirt poor 7 years later, as they were when they scrabbled together the milk money to buy a chance? Does not sound like a wealthy mindset no matter how you look at it!
Some judge their wealth based upon possessions. As much as I admire certain cars, houses and land, there is something about living in a wealthy estate that does not appeal to me. Most wealth has to be protected. And that often means having people around to do the protecting.
If wealth is defined by things, then I would live in a far off valley, close to a river, surrounded by mountains with hanging glaciers, plenty of cold and cool weather, and not another soul in sight.
The next best thing would be to buy John Denver’s estate for nearly $11 million dollars, and enjoy the fruits of his imagination and my money! You could sit on the deck, listen to his songs, and imagine what it must have been like to have his talent! Or, is this simply giving in to spending hard earned dollars for anothers dream?
Regardless of how you define wealth, the next thing to consider is what would you do with it?
I often teach that if you cannot manage your $100 dollars properly, there is no way you can manage your $1,000,000,000 dollars (add as many zeroes as you wish!).
Managing wealth is managing yourself.
If you cannot control your impulses with a $100, then your impulses are greater when you have greater sums. If you cannot pay your bills with $100, then the same will be true when you have more in the bank. If you cannot cheerfully give to God with only a widow’s mite bank account… Well, Jesus has something to say to you!Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4 ESV)
Reality speaks volumes – if you are poor with that $100, then you are poor with a million bucks in the bank. If you cannot give to God when you are only making pennies, then the same spirit will be there when you are making greater sums.
The richest man in the bible cried out, “All is vanity.” Then he wrote many words about acquiring wealth and managing it. Solomon did not start his life as a shepherd boy in the field like his father. No, he started with the wealth of kingdom that his father had built – and he maximized that wealth into something greater. He writes:Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. (Proverbs 23:4 ESV)
Do not work to acquire wealth… What a strange thought. Some folks work hard to acquire so much and then have so little time to enjoy it.
What takes me down this path today?
I made a pot of regular coffee this morning. Early, as is my habit. As I was enjoying the opening of the day I thought about that wonderful Peet’s Espresso Forte bag of coffee beans that I save for special moments. The thought hit me, “If I were wealthy I would drink Peet’s all the time!”
Voila! I need to be wealthy!
Still, I cannot judge wealth by which coffee I chose to afford, or not. All around me people spend great sums everyday for that drive-through beverage that makes them feel special. Most of it is not real coffee! It’s doctored and shaded and sweetened – somewhere buried in that cup is a little bit of coffee flavor and a whole lot of gunk!
For that daily habit of a $4-5 dollar cup of joe, I could spend only $1 per day and enjoy several pots of Peet’s Espresso Forte coffee.
So, it’s not about the money. It’s about choice. Where do I chose to spend my money? When I grocery shop, I hunt for bargains. When I am about to spend $125 on a tank of diesel in my truck, I look for the cheapest gas. When I go to a buy coffee…. Hmmm….
If I were wealthy, then Peet’s would be a daily experience. Since I am not, I enjoy it as an experience to be savored!
One of these days!