I want to tell you about a book I believe God directed me to read a few years ago. It really helped me develop a more healthy attitude about money.The title of the book is The Millionaire Next Door. This book basically studied the wealthy in America and examined their life-styles. The main point of the book is that most wealthy people look like (and probably are) the people who are your neighbors. Its research showed that most of the wealthy were married with kids and did not inherit vast sums of money. They still work 50 hours per week, live below their means and wear inexpensive suits.
Their wealth came by working and saving and investing 20% of their income. In most cases they worked most of their lives to become wealthy and do not drive exotic foreign cars. In fact, the book revealed that most of the people who drive exotic foreign cars are not wealthy at all. In essence, as described by the title of the book, most of the wealthy look and act like our neighbor next door. 1
The statistics from the book helped me because in my mind I had this fixation that to be wealthy meant you had to be showy and vain like many movie stars and professional athletes. I changed my wrong perception of what it “looked like” to be wealthy. This truth helps us know how to have a healthy attitude toward money. Let’s be free to talk openly and honestly about money.
On the other hand some Christians have accumulated wealth and yet act as if they have nothing. I don’t believe this is a biblical and healthy approach to money either. Proverbs 13:7 says: One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. God has a better way. The Bible teaches something different about God’s blessing. We should be neither boastful nor ashamed of the financial blessings from Him.
Let’s just be honest. Money helps us do what we are called to do to expand the kingdom of God. Money is not evil unless we fall in love with it. It is a tool. We can and should learn from others who have financial courage so we can develop it in our lives.
1 Stanley, Thomas J. The Millionaire Next Door. New York: Pocket, 1996.