Saturday, August 08, 2009

Real Wealth

by Meg

I've been hearing, reading, and talking a lot about wealth lately. When I was preparing for my garage sale last week I listened to a CBC program about money and happiness, and the correlation or lack of between the two. A famous Canadian Christian multibillionare said he was no happier or less happy than he was when he began his business, and still lives in the same house he had back then. A saliva test survey discovered that many people who have more money show much more of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva. They also feel guilty about their wealth. Longstanding Christian friends who visited recently were expressing concern about how the prosperity gospel is creeping into a movement they had formerly respected. Their summation of that gospel was that one gives to get something for oneself, to get more - the actual epitome of a worldly mindset that is against the true giving, freedom from care attitude of Jesus and His followers.

There were a number of years in my young adult life when I sought to live the Christian life by avoiding wealth as I understood it and so remaining not only poor monetarily, but poor in terms of living out my talents and gifts and relationships in the fulness I believe God intended. Now as I prepare for later years and take stock of all I have learned and experienced, I find myself needing fresh input and insight. As I prepare to coach others, I am a learner myself.

My Life Coaching homework and lessons this week were about wealth and mindset. There, in the secular foundational course book we use and then discuss from a Christian point of view, was a wonderfully stated position about wealth. It made me realize that I, as a person who has always despised wealth in many forms, sought to work for the poor and underprivileged, and continued to be frugal no matter what my net worth, discovered that, in light of the course material's parameters, I really have a poverty mindset in many ways. Not about monetary wealth, but about any kind of wealth. And that in having such a mindset I can easily be displaying a very worldly way of being - which is worrying about not having enough, believing I don't or won't have enough, and so remaining in a place that is out of sync with a truly Christian worldview. (I can imagine I am actually in 'good' company with many Christians, for the body of Christ is rather skewed in its attitudes in many ways.)

In our text ( Becoming a Professional Life Coach) by Patrick Williams and Diane Menendez can be found these nuggets of wisdom and truth:

A real sense of personal wealth comes from knowing that we always have a reserve of whatever resource we're focused on. (p.269)

Real wealth comes from experiencing more than enough of whatever is at issue. (p. 270)

Scarcity is simply a habitual way of thinking...and robs clients of the ability to feel appreciation for the abundance they do have in many areas of their lives. (p.276)

We focus on the importance of having a sense of abundance - a reserve of sense of wealth - in key areas: relationship (or love), time, vision, money, career and contribution. (p.276)

Sometimes clients discover that in order to create a true sense of wealth for themselves, they need to simplify. For example, they may discover that to create a wealth of time, they need to have a smaller house with a smaller yard to mow. (p.277)

These expanded views have helped me get out of the box in thinking about wealth. They are new companions along the journey to gaining a truer understanding of what abundant living as a Christian is really meant to be, to examining my assumptions and those of others about what it means to have the mind of Christ and a truly Christian worldview.

Let us not be afraid to receive truth, a wealth of truth, from many sources, and to trust in the abundance of understanding in seeing that all truth is God's truth. That is indeed wealth available for us all, as we prayerfully engage in life in all its fulness.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ( Phil. 4:9 KJV)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us. (Eph. 3:20)

4 comments:

Belinda said...

I loved this post, Meg. It was interesting to read about the "wealth of time," and building a reserve of it. I liked that thought and will be mulling it over. I tend to overspend that resource and perhaps thinking about as "wealth," will help!

Marilyn said...

This is a deep topic, and one I am glad to see you delve into and bring back for the rest of us to consider, Meg. You've included some excellent quotes from the text in addition to your reflections about how you have viewed wealth. I enjoyed all of this. Thanks!

My inability to SEE the wealth in my hands severely undercuts my ability to STEWARD it or ENJOY it.

Just a few weeks ago, someone pointed out an area of wealth for me and I found myself (inwardly) shunning it. I did not want that to be an area of wealth. I wanted something else to be the thing she noticed and remembered most. Only later did I realize her words were actually giving me an answer I'd been looking for. A prejudice (about what counts as wealth) had blinded me.

Oops, rambling again, sorry, good topic!

Joanna Mallory said...

"Scarcity is simply a habitual way of thinking...and robs clients of the ability to feel appreciation for the abundance they do have in many areas of their lives."

Definitely one of the lies the enemy tries to sell us, and too many of us have bought. I think understanding this concept of wealth is key to living with thankful hearts.

Thanks for sharing!

Meg said...

Thanks, all of you, for adding to my "wealth" with your comments. It is great to be learners together on the journey, fellow travellers vulnerable in our willingness to be corrected, and to find treasure in unexpected places.