It’s always amazed me that, after a two-day stay, hospitals just let you leave with your newborn child. The only question the nurses ever asked us about parenting was, “do you have a car seat?” Yes, but I don’t know how to use it, I thought quietly to myself while nodding affirmatively to the nurse. I remember bringing Jack home from the hospital and thinking, what do we do now?
It’s kind of funny how many things in life don’t come with an instruction manual. You just have to figure it out, picking up tips and suggestions here and there as you go along.
Like being rich.
I have two pages left in How to Be Rich, a short but incredibly thought-provoking book by Andy Stanley. Stanley is the founder of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. Each Sunday, more than 33,000 people attend North Point Ministries five Atlanta-area churches.
I’ll try not to give away too much of the book, because it’s a great weekend read (unless you’re a slow reader like me, then it might take you a week to finish) and I really suggest that you pick up a copy.
The first step in the process is just being aware that you are already rich. The mere fact that you are reading this post on a smartphone, iPad, or computer rockets you above about 90% of the world’s population in resources and the ability to acquire things.
If you’ve ever flipped through shirt after shirt after shirt in your closet thinking I have nothing to wear, you have what 95% of the world would call a “rich person problem”.
If you’ve had a bath this week, you’ve had multiple meals in the last 24 hours, and you can walk to the sink or the refrigerator for a glass of water when you’re thirsty, you are among the world’s top 5% in wealth.
Stanley spends the first part of the book helping readers understand that they are, indeed, some of the world’s richest people. We may not feel rich. We may believe that rich must be our neighbors or the person we saw driving off the dealer’s lot in a shiny new car. Stanley is convinced that we are richer than we think, we’re just not very good at it.
So what do you do with this resource of money to keep it from being a blessing and not a curse?
Having laid the foundation that we are indeed rich, Stanley works through Paul’s first letter to Timothy (I Timothy 6:17-18) and applies principles contained in a letter written almost 2,000 years ago to our every day lives.
I’m almost out of time this morning, but one of the most compelling questions Stanley asks in the book is, how did Christianity ever make it out of the first century? It didn’t have an army. It wasn’t backed by kings or rulers. How did it survive? Stanley suggests that Christianity grew and spread not by the teachings alone, but by the practice of generosity by the early followers. They gave expecting nothing in return. It was a revolutionary practice at that time to give to someone who could not return the favor.
It’s not what you have that makes you good at being rich (and you are rich), it’s what you do with what you have that will ultimately determine if your money is a blessing to you, your family, and community, or a curse that brings about worry, fear, anxiety, doubt and a myriad of other problems.
Grab a copy of the book and take it to the pool or beach this summer. It’s a great, easy read that will educate and inspire you to do great things with your money.
Have a great long weekend. I’m almost done writing the first timer’s guide to Charleston, so look for that early next month.
Thanks for stopping by!