What does being wealthy mean to you?
Does it mean monetary wealth?
Does it mean amassing material possessions?
Does it mean having a wealth of knowledge or information available to you?
Does it mean you have what you need?
Does it mean you have more than you could ever need?
What does being rich mean to you?
These questions are not being posed to pass judgment. Whatever reaction you had as you were reading them might be interesting to explore further.
When you define what wealth looks like in your own life, it helps define what you want, how you’re going to get there and most importantly, when you’ll feel content with what you have.
I could throw a bunch of scripture at you about riches and wealth. I’ll share some below so you can do your own study and see what God has to say on the subject. But for now, lemme share some personal thoughts and #realtalk with you.
I don’t believe there is anything wrong with having wealth.
I do believe you can do the wrong things with the wealth you have.
I also believe that our views about wealth are very related to our personal stories, our lived experiences and the society we grew up in.
I was born and raised in the United States of America. I’ve been blessed to travel around the world both for business and pleasure. I’ve seen how differently wealth is defined in other countries.
I learned that “poor” in the USA looks very different than “poor” in China or Africa or South America.
I’ve also learned that if you only define wealth as how much money is in your bank account, you might be missing the point.
Don’t get me wrong, wealth is great….
But it’s not what God created you for. He created you to fulfill His Will.
In order to do that, some of us will need more money than others. That money is still ultimately for His Glory.
This is a complicated topic to write about because what I’m saying can be easily misconstrued. My hope is that something you read in this post will cause you to pause and think. Think about the relationship you have with money and what wealth really means to you.
Money Money Money Money
We need money to keep a roof over our heads, to buy groceries, to go to school and let’s be honest, to get all those Amazon packages delivered.
When I look at my life, I have WAY more than I could ever truly need.
There have been times where I’ve struggled financially, but my struggles are nothing compared to what so many others have experienced.
Would I be sad, even depressed, if I lost some of my wealth? The honest answer of course is Yes! As someone in her mid-forties, my husband and I are looking ahead to being able to retire one day. That takes money, and in California, that takes A LOT of money. So I do define wealth as the amount of money we have in the bank. But on a day-to-day level, my definition of wealth and richness has definitely changed as I’ve matured.
My idea of wealth used to be very tied up in material possessions. Specifically handbags and shoes and clothes and jewelry and accessories. My idea of wealth and my self-confidence were all tangled together and out of whack. If I’ve learned anything from selling things on Ebay and having garage sales…..that stuff is never worth what you think it is when you go to resell it. Its value doesn’t last.
Here are few things I’ve realized do last:
The lessons learned from experiences, travels and adventures I’ve had.
The memories of laughter from hanging out with family and friends.
The personal growth I’ve experienced from reading books, studying God’s Word and going to women’s events and retreats.
The feeling of joy when I’m able to provide something that someone else truly needs.
There are a lot of other things, but these are just the first few that come to my mind. I told you this would be some real talk, so my point isn’t that these don’t cost money….because they do. It costs money to travel. It costs money to hang out with my friends….we like to eat. It costs money to buy books and study materials and to pay to go to women’s events. And it requires money to be able to provide food or a gift or even a little financial support to someone who is in need.
So my point isn’t that money doesn’t matter, it’s that no matter how much money I have, I consider myself rich and wealthy. My friendships, my relationships, my experiences, my growth, feelings of joy - that is what makes me feel rich and wealthy.
Those are the things that make me feel content no matter how much money is in our bank account.
I’d rather spend money and go on a girls trip with my friends than buy a handbag or new pair of shoes. That may be how you’ve always felt, but it took me some time to get here.
Here’s another way to put it. I used to spend more time worrying about what I would pack to wear on a trip than thinking about what I would be experiencing on a trip. Can you relate?
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10 NIV
For the love of money
I guess what I’m trying to say is, there was a time in my life when I loved money. My joy was in it and what I could buy with it. It’s been such a process over the years to turn away from my selfishness, my materialism and my warped sense of self-confidence. I still love to shop. I still like to buy stuff - stuff I need and stuff I don’t need.
BUT, I can honestly say that I don’t love money anymore. Not in an idolatry kind of way.
I love my God, my Heavenly Father, who provides. He provides what I need and He spoils me by providing what I want sometimes too. His provision can come in the form of money. Sometimes it comes in the form of patience as I wait for His provision. Sometimes it comes in the form of ideas that I can use to fulfill His purposes and that yes, will provide an income.
But what I’ve learned is that the money He provides is for a purpose that is bigger than me.
It’s not for me to spend on another handbag when I have fifty. But it might be for me to buy women’s toiletries to hand out to those in need. It might be for my family to go on a vacation. Not for me to brag about on social media, but for me to learn about other cultures and experience other parts of the world, so I can be more respectful and compassionate to his children who have a different lived experience than me. I just look at the world differently now. I look at wealth differently now and I hope that these random thoughts of mine will help you look at money differently too.
I am rich and wealthy. Because I have all I need, lots I want and a God who provides.
Scriptures For Study And Reflection
1 Timothy 6:9-10
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.