Half of the world’s net wealth belongs to 1% of the people. I find that statistic staggering and hard to get my head around. That means that 99% of the rest of us share half of the world’s wealth. To date, there are 36 million millionaires, which will rise quickly in the coming years. To drive this home a bit further, in 2000, at the turn of the millennium, the sum of the net worth of billionaires around the globe didn’t even reach $1 trillion. By 2015, the net worth reached $7 trillion. That’s quite an increase. The result is that the gap between the rich and the poor is also increasing dramatically.
In the West, most new millionaires acquire their wealth in business. I was shocked to discover that only around 1% acquire their wealth in other means, like through the cult of celebrity or invention, inheritance or investment. Acquiring a fistful of dollars allows one to continue to increase their wealth. Wealthy are also able to influence political affairs which will help them acquire even more money. The big wheel keeps turning.
Here on Spain’s Millionaire’s Mile, the common person is consumed with wealth stemming from Russia, Northern Europe, Saudi Arabia, Asia and America. Someone trying to live a modest life might struggle here. The price of a cup of coffee is twice the price than in other parts of Spain.
Something inside of me has risen like a Phoenix during my time where I battle such materialism. I sometimes wonder what I should have done differently to have become financially successful, wondering where I made a wrong turn, searching for where to put my focus on. My interests have been scattered, too, and I am thinking more than ever like an entrepreneur rather than an artist, or wondering how I can marry the two. I feel like there is a part of me that is lacking the thrill that comes with success.
Wealth and Religion
I even know some wealthy people who would classify themselves as God-fearing and religious. They profess that their wealth is a sign of God’s blessing and favor. The biggest threat surrounding these people is that they lack conviction, risk falling into enormous compromise, and then give to charity to wash their guilt away.
This brings up the other part of me that taps me on the shoulder (really, it slaps me in the face). With success comes a lot of responsibility, responsibility I don’t desire. I don’t desire the dark side of business either, or the possibility of someone backing me into a corner trying to force my hand.
I must constantly remind myself of the spiritual side of things.
Death and Riches
Lately, I have been convicted about dying to self. Myself. I feel over the years I have gained sight of so many other things I desire, and I spend my resources trying to achieve these things. For what? During the past few weeks, I have been especially aware of this.
Before I go any further, I really feel inspired to share something more that came to my attention.
I am already rich.
I’m not just talking about wealth in spiritual terms. I know I am extremely wealthy spiritually, and getting wealthier each passing year. I make healthy and wise investments.
In simple terms, I am rich.
Rich, rich, rich.
If my goal is to be rich, I can stop striving. I’ve arrived. I need to rewrite the question. The question is, “How rich do I want to be?”
If you are reading this, you are one of the richest people who have ever breathed. You have received an education, allowing you to read. You have electricity, which provides you the ability to plug-in and charge a laptop, tablet, iPhone, etc. And you have Internet. I can assume this means you have a home to live in, and clean water, too.
The down side of this is that by living in the West, you want more. You will spend most of your life without knowing contentment. Once you buy a house, you will set your goals to buy a bigger one, or a second one. You will structure your life to earn the most amount of money in the least amount of time. Why not?
We have lost reality. We don’t understand poverty. We’re too focused on trying to obtain financial prosperity. For some people who land it, it even turns out to be costly. I want to feed you more statistics to help you have an effectual shift.
I bet you didn’t know that if you earn more than $50k a year, you are on the list of the top 1% earners in the world. Don’t earn that much? Okay. If you earn $25k a year, you’re amongst the wealthiest 10%! If you made as much as $1500k, you are in the top 20%.
For me, this is a game changer. Yeah. I’ve heard all the statistics before. So why is it suddenly making a difference? Maybe it’s just the place I’m at, and the trials I’m facing. Mostly, though, I think it’s because I’ve been recently striving for something I already have. I’ve been wound tightly in deception.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m tasting something I’ve not tasted before, and it’s sweet. And I like it. It looks a lot like contentment. I’m content with where I am, with the life I’m living. Most importantly, I understand my identity in Christ, and I like myself.
I still have goals. I’m still writing songs, books and blogs, looking for my audience. I still believe that God is doing a good work in me and is changing my heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
I don’t equate my value before my Redeemer according to my salary. And I certainly don’t believe that if someone achieves financial success that this is a sign they are in God’s will, His favor, and blessed by Him. To me, a wealthy, successful person that is pleasing to God will bear much fruit. Much. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Gentleness. Faithfulness. Self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…