A Case for Getting Rich
I want to ask you a question: all other things equal, who is most empowered to do good for the world?
The person who makes $50,000/year with $100,000 in the bank
The person who makes $300,000/year with $10,000,000 in the bank
Moment of honesty: the reason I pose this question is that I've long held an unconscious stigma toward those who are wealthy because I saw it as a sign that they weren't using their resources to help people. Where I got this notion, I have no idea. How am I supposed to know what they're doing with their money? Anyway, it got me to thinking about the Christian perspective on wealth. I think that while we all inherently know that money is neither a bad thing nor a good thing, we (and by we, I mean I) unknowingly apply such passages as "the love of money is the root of all evil" and the story of the widow's Mite to our perspective on wealth.
But if we take a two seconds to think about a million dollars, wouldn't we want to see that sort of monetary power in the hands of a servant-hearted, loving, gracious person? Of course! They would be most apt to put those dollars to good use. Now, we can obviously dream up scenarios in which the loving, caring person is unwise with their money and blows a million bucks on a problem that a wise person could solve for a hundred grand. But let's get past that and realize this fact:
Wealth is a tool to serve and the more of it we have, the more empowered we are to make a tangible difference.
I love this quote because it beautifully reconciles my perspective on wealth with my lifestyle choice of simplicity.
Here's another cool thought: rich people get rich because they're providing something of value to the world that others are willing to pay for (or they run an underground crime syndicate... but that's not the point). So if we're adding value to the world AND willing to serve people with the money that we earn from it, we're being doubly helpful on a massive scale. Boom!
Ultimately, it's people's hearts that are our most important focus and you don't need money to make an impact there. But money does allow us to buy someone a hot meal or a new pair of shoes. Or fund research to eradicate malaria. Or build a network of family-style orphanages. And those acts of kindness — those sacrifices we make — open doors for conversations with people who are looking for truth.
It's not about the shoes, it's about the people in them.
So go ahead... get rich.