It was 2006 and I was big into #The Secret. I had the video and then I bought the book. I swear to you I lost 7 lbs in one week by doing nothing more than thinking about losing weight. (That freaked me out. So much so I didn’t follow through.) It wasn’t only The Secret I was into. I also bought a James Arthur Ray (the sweat lodge guy) ebook called The Science of Success. I made this picture with all the things I wanted. The big house, the car, vacations, an Adonis body. I had a small version at my work desk and a bigger one at home.
I wanted to be wealthy, not disgustingly wealthy with a garage full of cars and yachts, but wealthy enough. Then the #Holy Spirit came and drew me close. I discovered my gift and discovered the power the spirit has to lift me up when I’m around my brothers and sisters. But that new found faith created a different set of problems. I saw my desire to have #wealth as conflicting with God’s call to rely on Him for all my needs. I found myself asking the question over and over again and never being satisfied with the answer…Is it OK to be wealthy and #Catholic?
After all there are some scriptures that warn us all of the dangers of wealth.
Then #Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
– Matthew 19:23-24
“For the love of #money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.”
-1 Timothy 6:10
Wealth vs. Financial Independence
Those verses are a little scary. Maybe I can find some wealthy Catholics who are great examples of God working in their lives and through them to help the world. How about…
Phillip Rivers, the San Diego Chargers quarterback earned $12 million dollars in 2013 for his on field exploits. He and his wife, Tiffany, have seven children and are big supporters of finding homes for abandoned and orphaned kids.
Ken Langone is a billionaire who helped found The Home Depot and is helping run the Archdiocese of New York’s campaign to restore St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He also gave $200 million to NYU’s medical center in 2008.
Tom Monaghan founded Domino’s Pizza and is a noted Catholic philanthropist who has joined 40 U.S. billionaires in pledging half their fortunes to charity.
Whew! I was getting worried for a minute. You know, I wonder if I’m missing some other things the Bible says about wealth.
“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” – Luke 12:15
“Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life.”
– 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Oh, ok. I had those other verses all wrong. (Like many do.) They’re a warning not to get attached to money and the things it can buy. When I read the verses around 1 Timothy 6:10, I get a better sense of what St. Paul is warning us about.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains. But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
– 1 Timothy 6:9-11
Now back to the three wealthy Catholics I mentioned earlier. There’s a common theme with these three men that comes back to something I’ve heard many times. I don’t know the exact quote or who said it but the gist of it is ‘the worst way to get money is to try and earn it.’ Seems a bit counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
I’d prefer to express this saying in a different way. The best way to come into wealth is not to focus on it at all. Focus on adding value to people’s lives and the wealth will come as a natural by-product. Funny how the principles conventional wisdom says are counterintuitive really aren’t.
The other cool thing is when you add value to people’s lives, you feel better about what you’re doing. Oh yeah, and there’s another cool thing. Adding value to people’s lives often aligns very closely with doing the work of the church.
So how do I add value? What do I have to offer the world that will lead to financial independence for my family? Or perhaps I should say, “What does the Holy Spirit have to offer through me?”
The Journey to Financial Independence Begins Soon…
I am a writer, but lately it seems like I’m a writer who doesn’t write. For those of you who don’t write, this probably makes no sense at all. For those of you who do, you know exactly what I mean. It’s not writer’s block that gives me trouble. I come up with ideas all the time. I have documents upon documents of ideas and pieces started. Few finished, though.
I’m a procrastinator, scared of failure and success, at the same time.
I knew this already. What I didn’t know was the day after I starting writing this post God would hit me with an idea. An idea that made perfect sense because it allows me to work on living my life that way God is calling me to and sharing my greatest gift while doing it. A website about living the faith, every day. A how-to for doing what God asks of me and becoming the person he needs me to become.
I’m working on domain names, categories, and some free form writing to kick things off. Haven’t been excited like this in a while.
Stay tuned for more on the birth of this new project.
I originally wrote this in April 2014. A few months later I launched a website to pursue this idea but it went nowhere. It was hard to write the posts. I created a free e-book on procrastination that took forever to complete. Wrong idea, not formed enough, incomplete. Flash forward to early September 2015 and through the Holy Spirit, the idea has become clearer than ever before.
I know this idea won’t make me rich and I don’t want it to. I simply want to do the work God put me here to do. Financial independence will come as a by-product. We don’t need a lot. We want the bills paid, enough money to put Jack through high school and college, enough to retire on, enough to keep our property well maintained, and enough to vacation a couple times a year. What I want more than money is time. Time to be a husband, a father, a friend, and a steward of the church.
Pray for me as this idea takes even better shape and I begin to implement it.