3 reasons why it’s wrong to be poor
Do you want to be wealthy?
In the personal finance seminar I teach, I start with that deliberately-worded question, which very quickly and effectively reveals participants’ perspectives on and relationship with money.
I’m fascinated by how conflicted people are about money.
Some profess their belief that money is evil. Others claim they don’t need it to be happy. Many answer the question by saying they just need enough money to be comfortable (without ever knowing how they define “comfortable”).
But strangely, no matter the hang-ups with money, everyone, wants more of it.
I won’t debate Paul’s declaration that “The love of money is the root of all evil.” I will, however, question what I believe to be limiting and even damaging misunderstandings of what he meant.
There is nothing noble, spiritual, or virtuous about living poor. A scarcity-minded desire to live a modest life is a limiting and damaging counterfeit of humility. (And before you claim that Jesus was poor, consider that “All that the Father hath” doesn’t sound poor.)
Everyone should earnestly and unceasingly strive to be wealthy.
1. Prosperity is your birthright
The late preacher Charles Fillmore shocked Christians when he proclaimed, “It is a sin to be poor.” Eric Butterworth, in his book Spiritual Economics, explains that “he wasn’t referring to moral turpitude, but rather to ‘the frustration of potentiality.'”
Being broke is a temporary condition. Being poor is a permanent mindset — which is at direct odds with your heritage and which frustrates your potential as a child of God.
As the 14th-Century Persian poet Hafiz wrote:
There are so many gifts
Still unopened from your birthday.
There are so many hand-crafted presents
That have been sent to you by God.
The Beloved does not mind repeating,
‘Everything I have is also yours.’
There are so many gifts, my dear,
Still unopened from your birthday.
You can only be as wealthy as you believe you are worth. And you are worth infinitely more than you realize.
Your pocketbook may sometimes be empty. But your mind should always be brimming with light and creativity, your heart always full of love and gratitude.
Your mental eyes may at times see a diminished bank account. But your spiritual eyes should ever be attuned to Father’s infinite gifts.
As Randy Gage wrote,
“Success and prosperity are your true natural state. The person who is not abundant is actually at odds with the Universe…You receive abundance in direct proportion to how you understand and comply with the laws of prosperity; the laws of our being.”
Yes, there are millions of people across the globe who are impoverished due to forces beyond their control.
Please understand that in no way am I vilifying the poor. Rather, I am denouncing the scarcity mind-set, which causes greed, fear, envy, hoarding, theft, exploitation, even violence, and which manifests in the rich and poor alike.
No matter whom the sin can be traced to, make no mistake: without sin, there would be no poverty. When we understand who we are, we know with certainty that all of us were born to prosper — spiritually and materially.
2. Wealth is evidence of value creation
I’m befuddled every time I hear the phrase, “giving back,” referring to the philanthropy of the wealthy.
There are only three ways to become wealthy: 1) deception, 2) coercion, and 3) value creation.
In the absence of deception or coercion, wealth is evidence of, a byproduct of value creation. In other words, we only prosper to the degree that we serve others.
This is why “giving back” is a gross misnomer, which feeds the scarcity mindset: it assumes that the wealthy became so not by giving, but by taking.
When I hear someone say they don’t “need” to be wealthy, that they just want enough money to be “comfortable,” that translates to me that they want to limit their contribution to the world. By definition, an aversion to wealth is an aversion to service, or value creation.
As a child of God, it is your birthright to be wealthy because it is your responsibility to serve.
When I say that every child of God should strive to be wealthy, what I mean is that every child of God should strive to serve his or her brothers and sisters.
Living small is vastly different than living simply. An honest desire for unlimited wealth is a desire to maximize one’s contribution.
3. You are already wealthy
In her paradigm-shifting book, The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist teaches the powerful concept of “sufficiency”:
“We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mind-set of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency.
“By sufficiency I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough…It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough…
“Sufficiency doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive or aspire. Sufficiency is an act of generating, distinguishing, making known to ourselves the power and presence of our existing resources, and our inner resources.
“Sufficiency is a context we bring forth from within that reminds us that if we look around us and within ourselves, we will find what we need. There is always enough.“
Any time you believe you don’t have enough money, you are trapped by the scarcity mind-set. Becoming wealthy starts first and foremost with the abundance mind-set — understanding that you are already wealthy no matter how much money you have.
Without a dollar to your name, you are still entitled to gaze at the sunset, drink in the smell of a rose, marvel at a honeybee, stand in amazement at the miracle of birth.
Like the water in which fish swim, Father’s limitless abundance envelops us, defines our existence. To recognize that is to become instantly wealthy.
Do you want to be wealthy? I hope your answer is a resounding “YES!” because:
- As a child of God, it is your birthright to be wealthy.
- The only way you can become wealthy is by creating value for others — by definition, creating wealth is an act of service.
- When you cultivate the abundance mind-set, you stand in awe at how wealthy you are no matter where your bank account currently stands.