Normally I try to be encouraging and uplifting (and maybe kick your butt a little) when I write, but today is not that kind of day. Today I need to shoot down your unrealistic dreams for a moment. Why? Mostly because I want us to all be on the same page when I am encouraging you to do things that will lead to you becoming filthy stinkin’ rich. Ready? Being rich won’t solve all your problems. Despite what the latest rappers want to tell us, having money isn’t all there is to solving your problems. Let’s consider the issue for a moment.
Life Will Happen
Despite how much is in your bank account, you are still at risk to lose your job, get a serious illness or lose your spouse to infidelity. Despite the 0’s at the end of your paychecks, your kids will still misbehave, the dog will still throw up on the rug and you will still likely get a cold or the flu when all that mess is going around. Money can’t solve those problems. Focus energy on being a good employee, living healthy and loving your spouse. Love and discipline your kids (and the dog, even if she does puke on your rug), and remember you are human, even if you are a billionaire.
As you’re working hard toward building financial well-being, don’t set money up as an idol. Remember, “…the love of money is the root of all evil” (I Timothy 6:10). Every now and then, I like to turn on the radio to a pop or rap station just to listen to the lyrics. Usually, I’m disgusted pretty quickly, but I listen about once every few months to just get a snapshot of the culture. We are fed the lies that money, sex and position give us all we could possibly want. Don’t be blinded by popular culture that you forget this fact: Hollywood and all the money it represents is pretty miserable. Have you even looked at any of the magazines in the grocery checkout lines?
The Real Reason to Be Rich
I want you to be driven to prosper yourself and your employer (or your business). I want you to do all of this because it is a challenge, it can be fun, and when you can be a mature adult who EARNS (read: “work your tail off to earn”) lots of money, you have a different and valuable perspective on things that I believe society needs.
Having money in your bank account equals more responsibility. You have the choice to go buy some extravagant item or to help your neighbor who just got laid off. You have the choice to live in a fancy house, complete with maid service, or invest in the small start-up company that has brilliant ideas but needs someone to believe in them. You have the choice to take a fancy vacation or sponsor your church’s mission trip to Haiti. Although you might want to tell me they’re not, these are TOUGH choices. Money = responsibility. Get my point?
Your children depend on you to care for them. But at a certain point, they are going to start making choices for themselves and all you’ll be able to do is stand back and prayerfully hope they make good ones. Money, just like your time, energy and attitude, is just a tool you can use for good or for bad.