“That can’t possibly be God,” I instinctually responded.
But what if it was?
God and “Riches”
I had just met with two of my editors at David C. Cook Publishers. We were talking about my next book, A Lifelong Love: What if Marriage is About More Than Just Staying Together? (which I’m pleased to say will be released on October 1 of this year). As I was praying for (and at that time still working on) the book, I believe God urged me to work hard to “make them rich.”
If I worked hard on the book, listened to God, cooperated with His Spirit to produce an outstanding work, David C. Cook publishers could stand to gain quite a bit financially. The workers’ jobs at Cook would be a little more secure, their families well-served, and they would have a stable foundation from which they could be generous to others. David C. Cook publishers is non-profit—they give tons of money away to Christian ministries, which means more profits lead to more donations. Bringing them a successful book could potentially bless many people, and it was clear to me that God wanted me to do just that.
Just as importantly, wise words could make many marriages “richer” spiritually. That in turn would make many children richer emotionally. The book could become a grand wealth-building project for everyone, and I believe God was exciting me to look at it in precisely this light.
Breaking Past Cultural-Christianity’s Idea of “Riches.”
The reason I was hesitant to think this could be from God is that I’ve been culturally conditioned to think “rich is bad.” Why would God want to make people rich? Doesn’t He want the rich to give their money away? Well yes, in certain respects, but you have to have money to give it away. And remember, in the parable of the ten talents, we’re told that “he who has much will be given even more.”
God doesn’t work on a scarcity mentality, but on the Abrahamic “blessed to be a blessing mentality.” God pours out His riches to us so that we can pour them out to others. Consider Romans 10:12, which tells us that God “richly blesses all who call on Him.” If God richly blesses all who call on Him, doesn’t it make sense that He wants us to richly bless those who call on us?
Spread the Wealth
As I lived with this thought for the day, I realized I could also spread the wealth in other ways—spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually.
I started praying that I could make the people at Second Baptist in Houston spiritually “rich” through the message I was preparing. I prayed about how I could make my children feel ever “richer” in their father’s love. I asked God what I could do to make my wife feel emotionally and relationally “richer” in my affection, acceptance, adoration, and commitment to her.
Living to make people “rich” in many different ways is just another way to look at what it means to “love,” or to be a “blessing,” religious words that can lose the power of their meaning to familiarity. Putting an old concept in a light gave it a fresh spin for me, and got me all the more excited about actually doing it.
What if you lived today to make your spouse rich? Your family rich? And then those around you rich? What if all of us asked God, how do you want to bless others through me today? It might be money, but it might also be faith, words of wisdom and/or affirmation, gifts of time, or something we’ve learned from Scripture.
I don’t think God has a problem with us focusing on making people rich. I think He has a problem with those who act like wealth is limited and so should be coveted, protected, or resented (or who define wealth only in terms of money). If we are connected to God, all of heaven’s resources are at our disposal. Heaven isn’t going to run out of anything any time soon, so I don’t think we need a scarcity mentality. I think we need a wealth-giving mentality (which is different from both the consumerist and scarcity mentalities).
Why not try living with this thought for just a week, and see how it works out? Pray the prayer: “God, who do you want me to make rich today, and how can I make them rich with your help?”