I am getting ready to take my kids on a magical vacation to California.
Planning a trip of this size with four kids, takes some planning, both logistically as well as financially.
So, I have been thinking a lot lately about WEALTH.
What is it exactly?
Is it limited to the amount of money we earn, or the size of our home, or is it the cars we drive and the Toys we can afford?
Is wealth measured by the people in our lives? The experiences we have?
What does it mean to be WEALTHY?
There’s something about living in a civilized, industrialized culture that compromises rational thought. Ancient people didn’t struggle with this nearly as much as we do today.
It’s much easier to keep your priorities in perspective when they revolve around the tangible elements of survival – like your next meal.
The richer we get, however, the more our priorities begin to separate from our actual needs.
When all of our basic requirements are met, our appetites for progress don’t just magically turn off…
We simply turn from the things that we need to the things that we want.
And that’s when we enter into the confusing world of SUBJECTIVITY.
In this reality WANTS are harder to define…and easier to confuse.
Abraham Maslow, the man who introduced the world to the “hierarchy of Needs” explained the subjective nature of wealth by using a pyramid model. In essence he said our needs are always changing depending on our circumstances.
His model begins at the bottom with what we all consider basic needs of food and shelter, and progresses all the way up to luxuries.
So here is the dilemma that his model presents…
No matter where you are on the model, you are always wanting MORE.
If you are hungry or thirsty…more is simply food and water…
on – and – on it goes all the way up to a mansion on the hill that is bigger than anyone elses.
So, was Arthur Schopenhauer correct when he made the statement, ” Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become?”
Or is there a way to gain some logical perspective on all this WANTING?
Can we ever hope to corral the “monster” we call GREED?
I think we can.
In my own life, I have gone from the very bottom where I was homeless and hungry with four kids to feed, to where I am today, living in a nice home, with a nice car, and security enough to afford a magical trip to California.
Each and every day, I give thanks to the Lord for the logistical blessings He has provided for me and my children. I try always to remember where my wealth REALLY comes from, and never lose that perspective.
I want to give an illustration that will help to better explain my attitude about money and possessions and how I keep from letting them ever control my life.
We can all probably remember a few years ago when the High Museum of art in Atlanta signed an agreement with the Louvre in Paris in which they would allow priceless works of art to come to Atlanta “ON LOAN”. The collection included one-of-a-kind masterpieces from such GREATS as Raphael, Rembrant, and Michelangelo.
According to the agreement EVERYTHING still belonged to the Louvre. It was just being entrusted in the care of the museum curators in Atlanta.
So here’s the question: What percentage of the Art collection did the Louvre expect Atlanta to take care of?
Do you think they would have been content to receive only 10% of their masterpieces back?
Had Atlanta failed to return 100% of the art to the Louvre, major conflict would have ensued. Major world wars have been fought for less than that!
But of course, both parties understood that each and every piece on loan would be taken care of with absolute vigilance…not even a fingerprint would be allowed.
What was the governing principle behind the exchange?
The Louvre owned it all.
None of it belonged to Atlanta.
They were simply borrowing it for a short time.
That is how I view my “STUFF”.
In my mind, it is all on LOAN from God.
Everything I have really belongs to him.
I am just borrowing it for the time.
By viewing my possessions in this way, I prevent myself from ever getting complacent and greedy.
I know that since it is all on LOAN, He can call on me to repay or return it at any time.
So I have learned to cherish and appreciate every single thing I am blessed with in life.
In (1 Chronicles 29:11) King David says,
” For everything in Heaven and Earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, you are exhaulted as head over all.”
How would changing your attitude and seeing all of your possessions as actually belonging to the Lord change your perspectives on wealth?
Would it alter your WANTS at all?
I know that for me, before I spend my money on anything, I pause for just a minute and decide if this purchase is a responsible way to use the money I have been given.
King David also said in (1 Chronicles 29:12) ” Wealth and Honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.”
From David’s perspective, not only did God own all material things, but was also the source of all the things that money cannot buy- like honor, power and strength.
David’s comments are meant to describe everything that we enjoy in life. EVERYTHING!
His comments are practical for every one of us.
If we could turn our hearts to the truth of where our wealth comes from, maybe we could also start to place our hope in the Lord instead of in ourselves.
Placing my Hope in the Lord changed the entire way I viewed money and security.
Before I worried about retirement, healthcare, food storage, etc…I was killing myself to try to acquire all of these things on my own. But since I have learned to place my trust in Him as my provider, I have become more secure and wealthy than I could have ever become on my own.
When Jesus talked about wealth he was VERY CLEAR. He asked the question , “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36)
In essence, he implored people to view wealth through the lens of eternity.
Tha’s how King David viewed it.
That’s how I have learned to view it.
And that when we can learn to control our APPETITES this way, we lose our grip on wealth…
Wealth losses its grip on us.
We become free to enjoy our lives without the constant nagging fear of losing everything.
We are freed from the shame of not being as wealthy as someone else.
We learn to relax and enjoy life as it currently is, thus freeing up our mind and talents to become bigger and better, and this naturally will attract more wealth into your life…no matter how you define wealth, you will receive more of it.
Don’t lean on your wealth. Lean on the one who gave it to you. That way you will have peace in your heart as well as money in the bank.
My daily declaration is this:
“I will not place my trust in riches, but in him who richly provides.”
So today lets all decide to be wealthy in spirit, and the worldly riches will follow.