When I came across an Internet ad for a book about how to get rich, I had to smirk a little. It seems to me such books were usually written by already-rich people who got even richer by taking advantage of the gullible public. Later I wondered if that was too harsh, so I went back online to give the ad a closer look. What I came up with instead was a whole list of books about getting rich.
One book was a collection of stories and advice written by “one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs,” to quote the book’s subtitle. When I read a few of this person’s dubious business ventures, though, it didn’t improve my opinion of how-to-get-rich authors. Especially when I read the author’s quote that gaining serious wealth requires a person to develop a nasty streak. I guess that leaves me out. What’s the fun of being rich if nobody likes you?Another book that amused me was one about getting rich using the Internet. No con artists there! The publicity blurb went on about marketing techniques and advertising strategies, but said nothing at all about attempting to sell something useful. That didn’t surprise me, considering all the spam I get hawking items like instant college degrees and fake Swiss watches. There are lots of reputable retailers on the Internet, but unfortunately all those shameless spammers and pop-up advertisers give the whole thing a bad name.
There was also a book on the list about getting rich by “going green.” While I support environmental responsibility and the sustainable use of resources, it seems to me that “going green” is one of today’s most overused advertising ploys. I saw a commercial by one company that essentially claimed to be green because it polluted slightly less than average for its type of industry. Hmm. A book claiming to help me get rich by going green gives me a similarly weird feeling. I thought the goal of sustainability was to try and become less materialistic, not more.
Perhaps the tackiest book I saw about gaining wealth was called How to Get a Rich Man. The blurb said it was a step-by-step plan for finding true love of money, er, I mean finding true love and financial security. Maybe my view is skewed by not being a rich man, but I have doubts about money being a reliable guide for finding true love. Because the real place to find true love is on the Internet. At least that’s what all the pop-up ads say.There were several other get-rich books on the list, but none of them sounded very promising. Then again, I’m not much of a mark for wanting wealth because I already have a nice house and plenty of food and lots of annoying electronic gadgets. I don’t really need more material things.
What I do need is more of the Bible’s kind of wealth, which is not found in money or possessions but in good character and works of service. The Bible describes a variety of riches I’d like to get.
- I want to become rich in God’s grace (Eph. 1:7). To a large degree this is more about God than me, since God is rich in grace whether we humans acknowledge it or not. But to appreciate that grace I need to cultivate an ongoing awareness of it. When I do that I tend to become less critical and more content. That’s a rich way to live.
- I also want to become rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4). Though I mess up all the time, God abundantly forgives and restores me. That should inspire me to have lavish mercy for those around me who are also less than perfect. Which means everybody.
- I want to be rich in generosity (2 Cor. 8:2) and in good deeds (1 Tim. 6:18). Too often my giving and serving are paltry rather than profuse. Yet the apostle Paul wrote that giving in a meager way actually makes us feel poor, while giving generously causes God’s riches to grow in us so we can “abound in every good work” and “be generous on every occasion” (2 Cor. 9:8, 11).
- I want to be rich in God’s Word. Or as Colossians 3:16 puts it, I want the Word to be rich in me. That means more than just reading the Bible, but also letting it work in my mind and heart—and my feet. God’s Word gives rich nourishment for living and serving with bountiful pleasure.
- Finally, I want to be rich in faith (James 2:5). I don’t want to trust in the fleeting riches of the world, but rather in the eternal wealth of God’s love and salvation given extravagantly to any and all who want it. There’s no better way to get rich than that.