Who Is Rich?

Posted on January 25, 2006
Filed Under Evere Wonder?, Timeless Questions | Leave a Comment

wealthy-monopoly-guy.jpg A very wealthy man, someone who had everything he wanted that money could buy, was supposedly asked how much money was enough? His reply was, “just a little bit more.” Why is it that whenever wealth is discussed it is typically someone else that is considered to be rich? At what level is a person considered to be rich? Have you ever considered whether you are the one who is rich? How much would you need to have to consider yourself rich?

Some time ago Millard Fuller, of Habitat for Humanity, was speaking to a group of pastors. He asked this group of spiritual leaders “Is it possible for a person to build a house so large that it’s sinful in the eyes of God?” Those in attendance agreed that it was possible. Then Fuller asked them what size the house would need to be to become so excessive. After a period of silence one voice said, “When it’s bigger than mine.” I am sure the response drew some laughter, but it also contains insight into how many people view what it means to be rich.

To answer the question, who is rich, requires a benchmark or baseline by which to compare. Those comparisons usually involve someone nearby (neighbors, office, celebrities) who has more. Maybe that is not the best baseline by which to evaluate? Consider that if you live in America, own a car (or two), own the place in which you live (or even if you rent), have machines like a dishwasher, washer and dryer, computers, DVD players, etc. then you are wealthier than 80% of the rest of the world. Are you rich? Most people would say that the top 20% should be considered rich.

I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with being rich. I am suggesting that the way a person answers that question will help answer other questions that surface as a result. How much is enough and what should I do with the rest? Is there a better way to make decisions than simply asking, can I afford it? Am I in anyway accountable for how I use my riches? If so, to whom?
Again, as the story goes, a wealthy man died and at his funeral one of his friends whispered to another, “how much did he leave?” The reply was, “all of it.” Who do you think is rich?


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