New Hope Notes
How Wise People Build Wealth
Mind Your Own Business
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
How many of you baby boomers grew up poor? I was so poor growing up that when people rang the doorbell, us kids had to run to the window and yell, “Ding dong!” We had to go down to Kentucky Fried Chicken just to lick other people’s fingers. I even got married just to keep the rice people threw!
There are those though, that no matter how little they have, will still praise the Lord. In fact there was a very poor lady living in a very poor side of town that would get up every morning and praise the Lord for everything He provided her. Her neighbor was annoyed at that and kept telling her each day that the Lord, “ain’t provided nothin’.” So one day the poor lady had no food and prayed to God for help. The neighbor overheard and so secretly bought a bag of groceries and put it on her doorstep. When the poor lady found the groceries she praised the Lord again. Instantly the neighbor jumped up and triumphantly exclaimed, “That wasn’t the Lord! I bought those groceries!” The poor lady answered, “Praise the Lord even more! He not only provided food, He got the Devil to pay for it, too!”
So what makes us rich? God has an answer for us. But this is not a message specifically about achieving your dreams. It is a message about how to live right and if you live right, you will find that you will have achieved your dreams. Accordingly, we must remember that, “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes us rich, and He adds no sorrow to it” (Prov. ). In other words, it is what God is blessing that will make you rich.
But how do you know what is wealth? Madison Avenue and the world will tell you one way and the Bible will tell you another. Money is a part of the equation but it is not the only part. It is part of the key to a great life but keys have many cuts and money is just one of those cuts. If you think that money is the key to being happy, then your life will be unbalanced and the slightest bump will knock you over. It is like a friend of mine that spent all his time lifting weights to build his arms and his chest. After a while he had huge arms and a huge chest but he looked very strange because his legs were so skinny! He looked very unbalanced! If you think money is the only measure of wealth than you will be unbalanced, one dimensional, and very vulnerable to anything that can tip you over. You may be strong in finances but weak in relationships, marriage, faith and love.
So what is the first step a wise person does to build wealth?
1. ACCURATELY DEFINE WEALTH.
If we aim at the wrong target as our definition of wealth then we will probably miss the true target and it may be years before we get back on the right path. Accumulating money is not the best measure of wealth.
The Biblical prophet Haggai warned the ancient Jews, “Now this what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.’” (Hag. 1:5-6). Haggai was warning them that though they were working hard, they still had to be careful to live right to get the true blessings of God because while wealth included the things they were doing, there was so much more to it that they could be missing.
Wealth includes more than money and money should not be the first priority in your list of what makes up your wealth. Whatever is your first priority is your treasure (or what you treasure.) If money is what you treasure then it becomes a false god. There is only one that should be in your first priority and that is God. While it is said, “All that glitters is not gold,” I think we should also remember that everything that is gold may not glitter.
At the end of a five-day pastors’ practicum or seminar, a tall man stood up and tried to express his gratitude at the Christ change in his life but he could not speak as he was so overcome with grateful emotion and so he simply wept. That kind of change is wealth. At various times in my life various leaders and pastors have come up to me and told me that they were once in my youth group. Life does not get richer than that.
So what is wealth to you? Maybe it is a family, a genuinely loving marriage, a friendship, leaving nothing unresolved, a clear conscience at bedtime, children that are close, faith or being able to use a gift for God or service to others.
Sometimes we think that bling bling is the sign of wealth but the Bible says, “Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor” (Prov. 13:7 NLT).
So how do you decide what is wealth?
· DECIDE WHAT YOU TREASURE & WHAT’S NOT UP FOR
Do you treasure morality, honesty, love, faith, or relationships? It is important to decide what your treasure is because that is what will rule your heart. As the Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke ). If you treasure leisure then you will try to get out of work. If you treasure food then you will eat a lot. If you treasure your marriage then you will put your heart into that. So be careful what you treasure because that is where your heart will be.
Biblical Job always praised the Lord though his life had become a disaster of suffering. Job’s wife strongly disagreed with him. The Bible says, “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But…in all this, Job did not sin…” (Job 2:9-10). The reason Job did not sin was because he treasured his trust in God. In the end, God rewarded him by restoring him to prominence and health and doubled his wealth.
So remember, we will have a one-dimensional life if we treasure money as our first priority. We must define wealth accurately or we will be taking a lot of wrong turns in life. The second thing we must do to build wealth wisely is …
2. BUILD SLOWLY.
A while back I was participating in a boat race. Before the start of the race, various boats were drifting in front of the starting line giving them what I thought was an unfair advantage. Then the race began and we proceeded forward. At the end, we thought we had not done very well because there were so many boats that had arrived at the finish line before us but to our delighted surprise, we were judged to be the second place finisher! What had happened was that most of the boats that finished ahead of us were penalized by adding 10 minutes to their finish time for starting in front of the start line! So trying to save 10 seconds had cost them 10 minutes! It is like that in real life: sometimes cutting corners will cause you to lose time in the long run.
I recently went back to learning and playing guitar. I am purposely learning it slowly and correctly because I know that taking shortcuts will hurt my playing in the long run. Speed will be a byproduct of my slow and correct practice – not the goal. As the Bible says, “An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning will not be blessed in the end” (Prov. ). Life is like taking time learning the guitar: you have to build the discipline slowly.
The Bible also says, “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days” (Prov. ). Accepting discipline will bring you wisdom in the long run. Obeying God does not cost you time, it saves you time. We are told that taking shortcuts is the way to our dreams but that is a deception. Live your life by the Good Book.
In the movie “The Matrix,” choices are given between taking the blue pill and taking the red pill. The blue pill creates a happily ever after illusion. The red pill allows the taker to see a troublesome but true reality. Many choose to take the blue pill because they rather live in a happy illusion. One of the characters even says, “Ignorance is bliss.” It is true with us too. In some ways, this is a reflection of real life. Accepting the blood of Christ is similar to taking the red pill; it may take more effort and courage on our part but it is God’s way.
While the world says take care of number one, the Bible says to follow Christ. So remember to accurately define wealth and to build slowly and thirdly …
3. INVEST IN WHAT WILL BRING WEALTH.
If you value friendship, invest in that. If you value relationships, invest in that. If you value a good marriage, invest in that. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim. 6:9). I do want more millionaires in church but not at the cost of more important treasures. If attaining money is the first priority then many will be led into sin by the temptation. Money is just one of the cuts on the key to happiness.
So remember, to build wealth wisely we must accurately define wealth. We must decide correctly what things we treasure and will not put up for sale. We must take the time to build slowly and not take foolish shortcuts. Finally, we must invest in things that will bring us more wealth.
"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong with our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NLT) Doreen Rabaino & Jay Tsukayama
"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong with our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NLT)
Doreen Rabaino & Jay Tsukayama