The choice is yours!

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No one is either rich or poor who has not helped himself to be so

  • German proverb

The fact is that the choice between riches and rags, between wealth and worry and between prosperity and poverty is actually yours. Two things that I came across at different times in life convinced me of the fact that at no point in life can we all be rich. The decision to toe the path of plenty or that of poverty is left, to a large extent, with each and every one of us.

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The Lord’s pronouncement

One of such experiences came when I read about the Lord’s encounter with Mary Magdalene at Bethany. The scripture tells us that Mary had taken a pound of very costly ointment and anointed Jesus’ feet with it, filling the entire house with sweet fragrance from the ointment.

Judas was bewildered about the ‘sheer waste’ and wondered aloud why the expensive product could not have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor instead of being so ‘wasted’ (John 12: 3-5).

The response from the Lord forms the high point of my thoughts:

Verses 7-8; “Let her alone… For the poor ye have always with you but me ye have not always.”

The Lord Himself, in that passage, confirmed that the poor will always inhabit the face of the earth. That implies that while some will be rich, some others will definitely be poor at any particular point in time!

Now, if the Lord, in Whom all knowledge resides, should say that, then it is a settled matter that not all can be. or rather, will be rich at any point in time.

Research assertions too

As if to corroborate this, I came across a research assertion during my MBA days at the University of Lagos. After series of studies, the research divided people into five different levels of wealth and attainment.

It then asserted that it was virtually impossible that any one person moves across more than two levels of wealth during a lifetime. In other words, it is for instance improbable, all things being equal, to move from being extremely rich to being extremely poor and vice versa. It points out, however, that just as in every other generalisation, there are some exceptions to this ‘rule’.

Some musings

The foregoing got me thinking a while after coming across them. They suggest that
1). Poor people will always be in existence and

2). If you find yourself in the very poor category, you may have a tough time climbing to the very rich category. This is because for instance, living costs will always tend to take a chunk of your earnings; thus you will need not only hard and smart work but also requisite ‘money skills’ and above all, His grace.

Sources of wealth

There are certain ways by which man comes in contact with wealth.

The first, and perhaps the easiest of these ways, is through birth i.e. to be born into a wealthy family or to inherit great wealth. However, since the proportion of the rich to the poor is rather low, it follows that not many people have the privilege of being born into wealth.

Marriage is the second easiest way of coming into wealth i.e. marrying a wealthy spouse. However, while many women appear to look forward to this kind of ‘good fortune’, many men, perhaps out of manly pride, would rather be the wealthy partner and breadwinner than marry a wealthy woman. Even then, when a person is married into wealth, the wealth may not so easily be transferred, especially in this dispensation of easy divorces and the fact that heavy alimonies are not yet so popular in our part of the world.

The third means of attaining wealth is through industry and frugality. According to one-time US president, Benjamin Franklin, this combination is the surest way to make sustainable wealth, and it is what is preached by most personal finance proponents to those not ‘lucky’ enough to find themselves born or married into wealth. Even though it may be tough going, it is a sure combination as long as it is backed with consistence and persistence.

Lottery and chance are another means of coming into wealth but the fact here is that whoever places his entire chance of becoming financially secure on mere chance and slim probability, as is the case with lottery, must indeed be in need of deliverance!

The last ‘source’ of wealth is illicit sources such as theft, graft or fraud. Suffice it to say that this should be the least attractive source, as the price paid upon being discovered are indeed immense, and far outweigh the wealth so made. Moreover, there is no peace or honour in such sources whether the deed is ‘covered’ or discovered.

All said and done, the choice is therefore truly yours – either to be rich or poor, dependent or independent, and also to decide just how you will attain your objective.

Think about this!