Don’t Wear Yourself Out to Get Rich

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Matt Ham is dedicated to guiding others toward rich living.  His own experiences have led him to the understanding and freedom of a rich life, and through his RICH Principles he helps folks uncover true richness, identifying real treasure and discovering true joy and contentment. Also, check out Matt’s new book “Redefine Rich

Imagine a father. For the majority of his life, he plays by the rules working tirelessly to provide for his family. His dedication and service to those he loves is never in question, but somewhere along this dedicated path there comes a desire—a craving for more—masked within ambition.

If I can just get here, then we’ll be more comfortable.

This incessant urge grows over time and he doesn’t notice the fact that hours spent with his family are fewer and fewer. His infants grow into toddlers and toddlers into little boys; little boys become teenagers and teenagers become adults.

Life continues its feverish pace.

All the while, the lure of if I could just hides behind the facade of nobility; justified by words like responsibility and duty, he is blind to his reality.

Then, cancer. Unfortunately, it provides the perspective he’s been missing.

As he lies on his death bed, he stares up at his aged son. In disbelief, he sees a man staring back at him. Then he looks into his eyes, the eyes of his little boy, eyes filled with innocence and hope and he sees a younger version of himself.

In a flash, he sees that he’s chased the promise of a better life while the best life passed him by. He thinks, time does fly, especially when you fail to value each moment.

This father knows that unless he says something, his son will likely travel the same road he has. He wants more for his son. He wants his grandchildren to know their father. He wants his son to experience the fullness that life has to offer. He wants to know that despite his errors, he’s going to leave a legacy.

So, he looks into the eyes of his son and, fighting back tears, says:

“Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone. My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad. Listen, son, be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.”

Are you that father or mother? Perhaps you’re that son or daughter? If so, there’s hope yet.

Although this story was a vision in my mind this morning, I’ve had too many conversations that mirror its truth.

Interestingly enough, these were a father’s words. King Solomon, the richest man in history, penned these in his Proverbs thousands of years ago.

But even as I read them, I feel a tension.

So often we portray money as the culprit, pitting it against this true life we’re called to live. Like everything else, culture polarizes the issue. Take these popular song lyrics:

Get rich or die trying

or

Money, so they say, it is the root of all evil today.

And that list continues. However, those rally cries are written on the gravestones of many impoverished souls.

As I continue to learn, it’s not about money; it’s our perspective of it. Money is a blessing to those who steward it well and a curse to those who don’t. And it has nothing to do with how much of it they have. Love money or hate money, both are self-serving. Too often, it’s either:

Look at me, I’m rich!

or

Look at me, I’m poor.

Isn’t it interesting that our natural inclination in this conversation is the promotion of self, in both abundance and poverty?

That’s why we must fight this self-centered mentality and take hold of the life that awaits.

The father’s story above is a painful reminder of so many in our culture today. An untimely death or a diagnosis shouldn’t be the catalyst for changing our perspective–for changing our lives. We can choose today. Actually, we will choose today.

As the Father says through His Proverbs, “My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will be glad.”

So, Choose wisdom. Seek perspective.

Your heart will thank you.

Question: How will you choose wisdom and seek perspective?