Positioned to choose between being rich or poor, most people prefer to be rich. Simultaneously, almost all the schools of modern thought teach us to design our future and decide our destiny. If the above is true, how is it that most (97%) remain poor while only a relatively small group (3%) becomes rich? God himself cannot be clearer: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Nevertheless, if I wanted to justify poverty, I don’t have to go too far: James, the brother of Jesus, wrote that God chose the poor to be rich in faith, and “the ones who will inherit the Kingdom…” (James 2:5). And then, Jesus said that the Kingdom of God would belong to the “destitute” (Luke 6:20-210.
Some preachers preach a gospel of prosperity while others preach in the opposite direction. Both of them are wrong! A few on both sides address poverty as a curable disease. We have to decide to do it. It’s easy to find verses from Scripture to support either extreme. The Bible teaches neither. Free will is what it teaches. It gives us the tools to become rich or poor. If we decide to have riches, we ask God for them and accompany our petition with the corresponding actions. What am I doing to deserve the wealth I am asking for? I don’t see much praying on thanking God for being poor.
Do you believe that living a life of poverty is more conducive to God’s acceptance? Some want to keep poverty at all costs. So, they picture an idyllic view of living in poverty, which only reflects their evil plans for domination, for power, and more riches for themselves. I want to make the point that prosperity is neither moral nor immoral. It’s amoral. To me, money is not the enemy; on the contrary, it is evidence that God is prospering us, independently of why He is doing it. I would argue that money is not the source of all evil; the love of money is. The Bible is clear: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (First Timothy 6:10). An ardent desire to acquire wealth should be motivated by a spiritual mission, a higher goal, other than accumulating money. God wants us to be rich, as long as we dedicate our riches to His purposes. Our mission should be to create products or services to better ourselves, our family, and others, in that order.
”Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Proverbs 30:8). We should neither condemn wealth nor praise poverty. God gave us the power to elect either. What is common to rich and poor is that “God made them” (Proverbs 22:2; Hebrews 11). They are different in the way they used their talents to further the work of God. The Bible contains a lot of verses about money. Sixty-six percent of Jesus’ parables talk about it. Most of them teach that God owns everything (Psalm 24:1), and we are just the administrators (Matthew 25:14-30), and that we have to be faithful regardless of whether we are rich or poor (1 Corinthians 4:2). Just look at how admiringly Jesus talks about the widow who gave her last pennies to help with the work of God (Mark 12). God does not judge how much you gave. He is looking at your heart to see how much love you are showing when you give.
Some believe God prefers the poor and rejects the wealthy. A similar number of scholars maintain they can prove the opposite point of view. I am on the side of those who believe the richness on this planet is here for the enjoyment of those who worship God. I also believe God gave us free will to decide what kind of life we want for ourselves and our families. Our Creator gave us all we need to achieve what we desire. It does not matter what it is. Some of us decide to take the challenging route to professional and financial success; most of us choose the easy way to mediocrity and poverty. God is always going to be with you.
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), Jesus tells his disciples of the relationship between a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Jesus illustrates the position of those who affirm that it is better to be lacking here and very rich in eternity than to be rich here and suffer the eternal torments of hell. If the poor man has to spend a miserable livelihood during his terrestrial existence to spend eternity later enjoying a happy life, it seems evident that being poor is better. What are a few years of financial difficulties when compared with an eternity of enjoyment? These and similar examples come to mind to show the enormous influence of religion upon the perennial poverty experimented worldwide, including the wealthiest countries. Misinterpretation of these religious texts is, in most cases, the reason why the poor accepts to live in these precarious conditions, surrounded by suffering and misery in a world full of riches.
On the other hand, the same Book tells us to "ask and you shall receive" (Mark 11:24; Matthew 7:7). Furthermore, the Bible is full of examples of individuals who achieved riches well beyond what we can imagine. Some unsurpassed even by today's standards. Two kings, Solomon and David, come to mind. If King Solomon were alive today, he would be more affluent than the three richest men in the world combined. Solomon was not particularly virtuous. How could he be? He had 700 wives and more than 300 concubines.
Determining why we have rich and poor is a subject that has fascinated philosophers, thinkers, mystics, and teachers through the years. There are thousands, perhaps millions, of people that started pennilessly, and now they are so rich that they cannot spend what they have even if they decided to do so. There are so many, that some of us would like to know what’s the difference between the successful ones and those that stay swimming in the waters of mediocrity and failure. What are the common factors that identify the winners?
The easiest way to illustrate the above mentioned is by referring to the “Talent’s Parable.” The Bible teaches that “to those who have plenty more will be given, and he will receive in abundance. On the other hand, those who have little, even the little they have, will be taken away from them” (Luke 19:26). What does it mean? The more you have, the more you’ll receive or, money attracts money. Some affirm that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-28).
It is true, people with a lot of money tend to accumulate more and to produce more to keep on earning money. However, the poor live day-to-day and, in most cases, well beyond his earnings, giving validity to the parable’s teaching that he will lose even the little he has. The consequence is that those who have a lot can help more, and those who have nothing cannot. The possession of riches does not make a person good or bad. An evil person will keep being bad with or without money. A good person cannot stop being good because he got a lot of money.
Most people worldwide live in poverty. It doesn’t have to be this way. The Bible gives us an answer, and it is much simpler than we can imagine: “As you think in your heart, you are” (Proverbs 23:7). The message is clear: the life that we live is a consequence of our thoughts and, because of it, if we want to improve our lives, we have to start thinking different thoughts so that they align with our feelings, with what we feel in our hearts. Your new life begins with the words you are continually telling yourself.
From here, we have to conclude that our Creator gave us the freedom to decide our destiny. We can make the universe to obey our commands by using our thoughts provided that we accompany them with the appropriate actions. Even if our feelings are different than our thoughts, our subconscious mind will reconcile any possible conflict. If we always dream of what we want to become and follow the actions dictated by our minds, those dreams will soon become a reality.
What kind of message are you continually sending to yourself? Are you paying attention to that internal voice that criticizes you, judges you, and sentences you? Is that voice telling you that you will never achieve your dreams? That you will always be nobody? Your internal self-evaluation will become your reality. What you think of yourself is what you are, and, as long as you feel that way, you will be what you have always been. Your internal criticism and judgment are the main contributors to sabotage your success. If you understand that message, then you have to decide to change the thoughts you are sending to your feelings. You have to challenge yourself to change your way of thinking and to overcome your irrational fears that exist only in your thoughts for your life to improve.
In other words, successful individuals fill their minds with positive thoughts, comments, and images of prosperity, health, and love. They know the fastest way to achieve what they wish is by giving others what they want. They look for solutions to other people’s problems because they know that they create wealth when they find answers. When we continuously think about something, our subconscious mind self-activate and alert us of any situation, no matter how irrelevant, that can help us reach the important things in our lives because we have so decided. For example, if you think that the best way to be wealthy is by investing in real estate, you will notice all news referring to this type of investment. Every ad will call your attention. The information has always been there, but now you see it because your subconscious mind is feverishly working in that area. And this is because you have decided to think persistently in achieving your goals.
Your subconscious mind is unable to distinguish between truth and lies or between good and evil. Depending on what you sow, that’s how your harvest is going to be. If you continuously think about your sufferings and your poverty, it is not difficult to imagine what the results of that train of thought are going to take you to. Analyze for a moment, what thoughts dominate poor people’s minds? Unfortunately, they fill their minds with scarcity, even envy, because they don’t have what others have. They always think about their misfortunes or how little money they have to fulfill their personal and family needs. They concentrate on how little they have and perpetuate the idea that they are and will always be poor. Their poverty thoughts will take them to more poverty. It will make them poorer.
On the other hand, affluent people think about what they want and how easy it is to obtain it with the means at their disposal. From all this, you have to deduct that, and if we think as rich people do, our subconscious mind will make everything possible to reconcile our thoughts with our feelings. A good habit we must cultivate is one of observing successful people and imitate what they do. Similarly, we must watch what failures do to avoid repeating what they are doing.
To follow up on these ideas, decide on what you are continually going to think. Act and behave as if there were no doubts about achieving it, and don’t allow anyone to talk about your current financial situation or about the possibility of not achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Instead of saying, “this is not the right time to buy a new car,” ask, “what do I have to do to afford to buy me a new car?” From now on, eliminate from your vocabulary phrases such as “I can’t,” replace them with questions such as: “How can I…? What are my options? How can I go from where I am today to where I want to be? There are three things you can do to start the glorious trip from where you are right now to where you want to get. The first one is to dream the big dreams you have always dreamed about for yourself and your family. Imagine what you want to be, what you want to own, and what you want to do as if there were no limitations whatsoever. The second one is to project yourself into the future and, with the eyes of your imagination, see yourself living in that glorious world. The third one is that you must start today to write your destiny and decide that nothing, and nobody, will oppose your decision to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.