Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Creating True Wealth

Most people think building wealth means getting a lot of stuff and a lot of money. The saying goes, "He who dies with the most stuff wins." Nothing could be further from the truth. When people are on their deathbed they don't ask to see their checkbook ledger one last time to see how well they have done in life, they as to see their loved ones and bask one last time in the relationships they had with them. I'm as guilty of this as the next person, because I have taken my relationships in life for granted too many times. It is way too easy to fill my day with more tasks and measure a good day by how many of the right things I have accomplished to reach my goals.
When I write about building wealth, I'm not just talking about money management. That is the most common misunderstanding. True wealth is in the relationships you have had, and how well you have done in loving your creator and loving others. When I first started this process of building wealth I began to realize that this is not "my money". I am only a manager for the one who created it all and is letting me have some of it to manage. If I manage it well, I could be trusted with more of it.
It is a sacred responsibility. That means that I need to be generous with what I've been given. I need to help others who need it. When I do I get a greater reward than any benefit I could have received by buying something for myself. I began to realize that if I kept it all for myself it would begin to make my heart rotten.
There is a lot of power in money. Lenders are masters over borrowers. The rich get to make the rules that the poor have to follow. Only the strong can help the weak. Only the rich can help the poor, and only lenders can give grace to borrowers on their debts. So accumulating a certain amount of money can be a good thing if we can guard our hearts from falling in love with the money itself. Instead we need to fall in love with what we can do for others with it.
My wife and I felt led to send a certain amount of money to a pastor we had met that needed to find a full-time job because his church couldn't afford to support him. We weren't quite sure we had been impressed with the amount we came up with, but it seemed like the right amount. We didn't send it to his church; rather we sent it to him, personally. At first this seemed a bit strange to me, but again it felt like the right thing to do. For some reason I was delayed in sending it out, I think I had difficulty with getting the right mailing address. I eventually sent it out. A couple of weeks later I got a call from the pastor, which surprised me since I hadn't given him my phone number. He said, "Jim, you have no idea what you've done!"
A bit taken aback, I wondered what kind of trouble I got myself into this time. He said, "I had an interview scheduled and started having problems with my dental implant. I was concerned about going to an interview with missing teeth, but felt God told me to go anyway and to make the dentist appointment anyway even though I didn't know how I was going to pay for it. I trusted that God would provide.
Then the morning of my dentist appointment I went out to check my mailbox and there was your check for the same amount as what I needed to pay for the dental appointment and replacement implant." Hearing that story really reached down in my heart and confirmed that true wealth isn't about the money, it is about how well I have loved God and loved my neighbors. I thanked God that He had given me the opportunity to be blessed enough to give, and that it improved the health of my own heart at the same time.
Jim Anderson is a personal finance expert, author, music artist, and ordained minister. For more discussion of a building wealth go to Jim's website.

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