I had a christian upbringing. At a very young age, I was taught to be humble and kind. I was taught to follow the fine example of Jesus and his apostles. I was taught not to love money – because this was the root of all evil (the LOVE of money). I read many times in the Holy Writ that we cannot serve two masters, i.e.: God and money; for we would learn to love one and hate the other. I also read that it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. All these principles were repeated to me from youth – over, and over again. And so, I came to believe it very strongly. In fact, I believed it so strongly that I did like the Pharisees of old and I twisted its meaning and application in order to make myself appear greater in my own eyes. In order to feel like an ultra-spiritual and virtuous man, I began believing the lie that there is virtue in poverty. Conversely, I also believed for the longest time that riches made men wicked and full of vice. The fact that my dad, who was poor, repeatedly called them names (which I shall not repeat here) didn’t help. Therefore, in my eyes, rich people were pretty much doomed to be vicious, ungodly rats or snakes, while poor people were virtuous and victims of unfortunate circumstance. I equated poverty with humility and grace, and riches with greed and evil.
Well, as you probably know, it will be done to us as we believe. So, because of my firmly held belief that riches equated with ungodliness, I was never rich. For most of my life, I was always left with too much month at the end of my money – if you know what I mean. I basically sabotaged myself through my own dysfunctional B.S. (belief system) about money.
My whole beliefs about money, wealth, virtue, and vice, were completely turned around when, in financial dire straits, I began praying to God for… yes, money. It was difficult for me to resort to what, at the time, seemed like a prayer unbefitting a Christian. However, I was so troubled by my lack of financial ease and my debts, that I chanced it – even if it meant a possible rebuke from God. And that’s when The Father decided to school me in the area of money and wealth. No, I didn’t get sudden checks in the mail or win the lotto. Instead of giving me a fish, God taught me to fish (and it’s still ongoing).
My first lesson happened in a bookstore. I was browsing at my local Indigo bookstore and, I erred into unfamiliar territory: the finance section. There, I saw a book on the shelf that caught my attention. Actually, it was more than that. I felt pulled towards the book and compelled to buy it. This book would serve to completely re-educate me and re-forge my beliefs. Most of the time, we choose our books, this time however, the book chose me. The book was Think And Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill.
After reading Think and Grow Rich, I began to fully grasp that the admonitions of Scripture that it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle is greatly misunderstood. Basically, it all has to do with not only a person’s sense of priorities in life; i.e.: God or Money, but also with what the person grew acquainted with FIRST. For example, if a man grew up in wealth but knows not God, it is very likely that he will not seek God. His wealth will keep him from the greater good because it does satisfy his earthly needs. However, if a man knows God and honors him and his fellow man, even if he becomes wealthy later on, chances are he will retain his morals and faith. I actually know a good number of wealthy men of faith who actually do much good with their money – who are virtuous. Besides, the Scriptures are full of wealthy men who were virtuous and honorable: Abraham, Joseph, Job, David, Solomon, to name just a few. Surely they found a happy place after they died.
So no, riches do not equate vice or immorality, nor does poverty equate with virtue and felicity. As someone who grew up among poor people I can definitely attest that many of them are far from the side of the angels. Some of them actually had many vices and were quite corrupt morally.
While we must remain aware that money doesn’t necessarily bring happiness (purpose and significance do that), I can guarantee that it brings more happiness than poverty ever has. You can definitely take that to the bank – pun intended.
A mindset which glorifies lack cannot possibly prosper. A growth mindset aimed towards prospering as your soul prospers will not only prosper a man in virtue, but in financial wealth as well – and guess what: there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! It’s all good. A friend of mine once said: if you really want to help and bless other people, it is better done by getting rich first. But before we begin to grow rich, we must first THINK, and grow rich. We must correct our thoughts towards money and wealth before we become wealthy AND virtuous.
In the coming new year, I hope you all will prosper as your soul prospers. I hope you will do away with beliefs that are damaging to your growth and success.