Wealth has some pretty powerful side effects. If wealth were an over-the-counter medicine, there would be bold warnings printed on the packaging.
Warning: May cause arrogance. While taking this medicine, extra precaution should be taken not to offend people. If taken for prolonged periods, may impair perception, causing hope to migrate.
If you saw a commercial for wealth on TV, it would show pictures of happy people holding hands in the park. Meanwhile, the announcer would be listing all the ways it can ruin your kidneys, rot your stomach, cause sudden heart failure, and destroy your life.
So what can you do to offset these terrible side effects?
With some medicines, the side effects can be reduced by taking them with food, by starting off with small doses, or by combining them with additional drugs. The side effects of wealth can be mitigated in a similar way. Not by drinking milk, but by exercising a particular routine on a regular basis. Paul explained it to Timothy this way:
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. — 1 Timothy 6:17
Did you see it? The way to offset the side effects of wealth… to avoid being arrogant and putting your hope in wealth… is to put your hope in God. That’s the short answer anyway. We’ll get to the step-by-step plan in a moment.
Haven’t you met people who are good at this? There are some rich people who, no matter how much God sends their way, never seem to put their hope in their riches. Some are “middle-class” rich. Some are multimillionaires. And some only seem rich when you compare them to a third-world country. But no matter how rich they are, they don’t trust in their riches. They trust in God.
An amazing thing can be observed within this group of rich people. Since their hope is in the Lord, they never seem to suffer from the first thing Paul cautioned about: arrogance. Despite being rich, they’re humble and thankful and generous at heart. They don’t worry if they’ll have enough or if the stock market will recover or if the merger will go through. Their hope is in the Lord. So their hope remains steady in every circumstance they face.
So what’s the connection? How do they do it? What do you do in order to put your hope in God? What are the steps?
Look at what Paul says next:
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. — 1 Timothy 6:18
There you go. A step-by-step plan for keeping your hope from migrating. If you think about it, adhering to that command would definitely have an impact on things. Imagine if every rich person were to live by that statement. It would be hard to be arrogant if you spent all your time thinking up things to do that were “good.” And you couldn’t “be rich in good deeds, and… generous and willing to share” if you also put all your hope in the things you were so generously sharing.
I have a simple mantra that sums it all up. I like mantras because they summarize big ideas into little phrases that are easy to remember. So are you ready? Here it is:
Go ahead. Say that out loud to yourself a couple of times. If you’re sitting alone in a Starbucks, adjust your Bluetooth headset first and nobody will even know you’re talking to yourself.
That one simple shift of your mindset holds the key to being good at being rich. Wealth has side effects. And the side effects that come with wealth are the very things that keep us from being good at it. Ironic, isn’t it? The richer you get, the harder it gets to be good at it. But if we can address the temptation to trust in riches, “I will not trust in riches,” and reinforce the idea of trusting in God instead, “but in Him who richly provides,” we will neutralize the side effects.
Sounds pretty simple. Just repeat that handy phrase to yourself a couple times a day and you’re set — “I will not trust in riches but in Him who richly provides.”
Excerpted with permission from How to Be Rich: It’s Not What You Have. It’s What You Do With What You Have by Andy Stanley, copyright Zondervan.
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Did you repeat it to yourself? “I will not trust in riches but in Him who richly provides.” All people, no matter what their financial status have the bandwidth to share, to be rich in good deeds. What can you share with someone in need? Let’s battle arrogance by thinking creatively about good things we can do for others! Come join the conversation on our blog. We want to hear from you about trusting in God who provides! ~ Devotionals Daily