All content on this blog from Tim McGhee has moved to the Tim McGhee Substack, and soon, Lord willing, will be found only on that Substack.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Greatest Difficulty for the Rich

Jeff Bezos was in town recently.

This prompted “a supremely well-attended dinner marking The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.’s 32nd anniversary.” This has the Washington Business Journal gushing about how “Never had so many business leaders packed into the massive ballroom at the Washington Hilton” with “about 1,400 business leaders, politicians and local celebrities and 130 credentialed members of the media.” The event “was so large it required multiple levels of the Washington Hilton to fit it. A pre-event reception was so packed that organizers held a smaller, but equally packed, separate reception for sponsors and the biggest VIPs in a crowd of VIPs.” The praise for the crowd continued from there.

Some people make their money just studying people who have lots of money and assets. There's no shortage of articles on things rich people do, have in common, etc.

I don't remember the exact headline or title now, but I once saw something on Business Insider, if I remember correctly, that identified the most fundamental common thing among people of means or wealth.

They had all hit bottom at some point, and then they had all decided not to be at the bottom anymore. They put their hunger or desire to use, and became extremely self-reliant. Of course, they need to hire a lot of people along the way, but there is a transforming fundamental drive to succeed that is what truly sets them on a different trajectory than the rest of us.

With that understanding, and even with all their riches and assets, there is still something that is extremely hard for them to do.

Jesus said, “it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23).

Why is that? I think it's because what it takes to be rich and what it takes to enter the kingdom of heaven are nearly the opposite. Gaining earthly riches is all about maximizing your own self-determination, and getting into the kingdom of heaven is all about recognizing there is nothing we can do of ourselves to merit eternal life.

Giving up your dependence on yourself when you have little ability or invested in this world is much easier than if you've proven yourself to be very dependable and are heavily invested in this world.

Jesus told a story about “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry”’” (Luke 12:16-19).

I've heard someone who does not consider himself rich define “rich” as someone who doesn't need to work. For some, that's the goal, though anyone who has built a barn and outgrown it knows that there's no satisfying the hunger for more riches. And there's always the fear of the competition, especially the game-changing competition you don't see.

What does God say about storing up enough treasure for a comfortable rest of your life in retirement? “God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21).

There are eternally worthy goals that far exceed being rich on this earth. Get into the kingdom of heaven first, and then store up for yourself treasure in heaven.

No comments:

Blog Archive