Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Only Way to Get Rich

Last week I wrote a post titled “The Only Two Ways to Get Rich.” In it I explained that to get rich you could either a) want less stuff or b) get more stuff. I then went on to make the claim that the Gospel informs this view and that God indeed wants to help you to want less stuff  while getting more.

The problem is that’s not exactly true. If you read the article at face value, all the claims made are biblicaly defensible (I’ll happily point you to the scriptures for each claim if you’re in to that kind of stuff) but when read together, the implied message is something different. The implication to the post is that God wants you to have more stuff, or money, or success, or whatever… and I’m really uncomfortable with that implied message because it’s just not true.

Look: God does wants us to have more. Not only that, God wants us to have the best. In fact, he has gone to great lengths to ensure that we can get more of the very best. But here’s the thing: the “very best” is just one thing. It’s the only thing that truly matters: Him. It’s not more comfort or control or approval or power. It’s not a newer car or nicer house or shinier watch or more powerful friends. It’s more of Him. He’s the best. He’s all there is.

He wants you to have more of the very best. He wants you to have more of him.

Along the way, God may lend you some stuff, apportion you some power, or assign you a few successes, but those things aren’t ultimately what he cares about, and they shouldn’t be what we care about either. Not because those things aren’t valuable and good, but because he is so much better.

(If you’re wondering: you can read The Only Two Ways to Get Rich here.)

The Only Two Ways to Get Rich

(EDIT: Before reading this post, take a minute to read The Only Way to Get Rich)

God wants you to be rich. He does. And there are only two ways to become rich.

You can make more money, or you can want less stuff. One of the solutions is more interesting than the other.

Want less stuff.

Have you ever spent time with people in abject poverty? Have you ever noticed that those people have no idea they live in abject poverty?

It’s because they don’t.

Because they want less stuff than you do. Their standard for “abject poverty” is much different.

Let’s look at it a different way: Think about the richest man in the world 2,000 years ago. What did he have? Horses, camels, homes, servants, spices… fine purple linens (oooooooh!)

Would you trade lives with him?

I wouldn’t.

I wouldn’t trade lives with that guy for anything because I love my car… and air conditioning… and refrigerators.

The richest man 2,000 years ago may have had purple linens, but I’m sure they don’t come close to my 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. And sure, he owned a lot of cows, but he didn’t have hamburgers. (And he certainly didn’t have Hopdoddy.)

So I’m completely serious when I say: I’m not even close to being the richest man alive but I don’t want to be the richest man 2,000 years ago, not compared to what I have now. Any rational person today with modest affluence would say the exact same thing.

But… but… but… he was the richest man alive – and we all want to be rich right? Right. But we wouldn’t trade lives with the richest man 2,000 years ago because rich is relative. Perspective means everything.

(Without getting preachy, this is the point where I should remind you that we are offered a massive inheritance in Christ. An inheritance which dwarfs anything we could personally accumulate for ourselves. Maybe this section should have been called “Want more stuff” or “Want the right stuff.” If rich is only ever defined here (on earth), you’re going to be sorely disappointed some day. Remember – rich is relative.)

Make more money. (EDIT: If you haven’t, please take a minute to read The Only Way to Get Rich)

Let’s be honest, if you want to be rich the world says you need to get more. God is interested in helping you do that. (ok ok ok… wait, what?)

Let’s look at a chart (yay for charts of modest necessity!). Your career and faith could be plotted on the graph below. One axis is how faithful you are, the other axis is how successful you are. God is interested in moving you to be more faithful and more successful. He wants you to move from the bottom left corner to the top right.

Spiritual Maturity Quadrants

Ultimately though, God is more interested in increasing your spiritual maturity than your professional development, but he wants both. First, he wants you to be spiritually mature so that any increases in wealth or status become simply tools you use to serve him with, rather than tools you serve.  Second, he wants you to have more resources so that you can glorify him with more.

That last sentence – “God wants you to have more…” isn’t a prosperity gospel claim. God is offering you an inheritance equal to the one he holds for his Son. He, not you, defines what “more” is (don’t forget that) Now, try and argue with me that he doesn’t want you to have more.

Get Rich Quick. (EDIT: If you haven’t, please take a minute to read The Only Way to Get Rich)

It’s really simple – make more money and want less stuff. What are you going to do today to get rich?

Believers should be the best nurses for patients with the Ebola virus

Believers should be the best nurses for patients with the Ebola virus.

I mean, only the believer can walk into a life threatening situation and be totally calm and assured. The non-believer can’t say “to live is Christ, to die is gain.”

I know that’s just theoretical. I know it’s way easier to say it than to do it. But it’s the truth.

There are a lot of sad articles about how underprepared we are for Ebola. Articles about how the nurses treating the first US Ebola patient didn’t have the proper equipment or training. Now one of the nurses caught the virus.

Occupational hazard, maybe. But it’s still sad.

And it is news that would scare me if I was a nurse walking in to the room of an Ebola patient. But it shouldn’t.

There are those among us that have the calling to be nurses. Some have the calling to look an infectious disease in the eye and say, “yeah… to treat this virus is for Christ. I’ll endure this work. I’ll do what I’m called to do. I’ll honor God in treating this patient… and if I catch Ebola and die… well that’s my gain. That’s something I’ll look forward to because it hastens the day I get to see my creator.”

“To live is Christ, to die is gain.”

Some people are called to say that.

I get it though. Not easy.

It is, after all, a calling to say, “to live is Christ, to die is gain,” in the most literal sense possible. To choose to put yourself in danger of death. That’s a calling from God.

It’s not necessarily a higher calling, or a harder calling, or a special calling. It’s just a calling.

God calls us all to die in different ways. Maybe you’re a nurse and your call is to face literal death in the room of an infectious patient. If that’s your calling, I hope you’re obedient to it.

Maybe you’re not called to face death though. Maybe you’re the sole provider for a family and taking that risk would be disobedient. If that’s the case, then here is something I know to be true about you – you’re called to do something equally sacrificial with your life. I hope you’re obedient to it.

Think about that.

The call of the nurse to face infection is not different in function from your calling to provide for your family, make bricks in the factory, file reports for your client, sacrifice profit for faithfulness, live intentionally…

Our callings aren’t different in function, just different in form. Yours might not be as obvious or dramatic. But it’s there. Sometimes it’s a whisper, sometimes it’s a yell… but it’s always there:

“Come and die so that you might actually live.”

Jesus loves you. He doesn’t want you to miss or ignore your calling. So what is it?

Don’t miss the forest

Tasks are terrible.

Jobs suck.

Careers aren’t better.

Callings though. Callings are what you want.

Don’t just do a task today. Don’t just do your job. Don’t just spend time building your career.

Tasks don’t matter tomorrow. Jobs won’t matter once you quit. Careers only last a decade or two. Callings though, are eternal.

Do work that matters. Do work today that fulfills your calling from God – your career supports it, your job supports it, your task list today supports it.

Don’t miss the forest for the trees.

Not sure what your calling is? Check out the two hyperlinks above and then join the mailing list. Life’s too short to do work that doesn’t matter.