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On wealth and riches

The great motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar would ask in his seminars, “Money is not everything, right?” When the audience would nod their heads and affirm his statement with a loud “Yes!” or “Amen!”, Ziglar would then say, “No! Of course not. Money is almost everything.” Then there would be nervous laughter throughout the auditorium.

But Ziglar doesn’t stop there. He continues, “Money may not be everything, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen.”

Money is congealed life. You’ll never hear me say, “Money isn’t everything…” as many speakers are wont to say. It’s dramatic, and it sounds pious, but the truth is the same speakers who say “Money isn’t everything” charge high and demand immediate collection of professional fees.

Do you know that the Bible doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil? But it does say that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Therefore, money is an attitude thing. It’s not wrong to possess lots of money; it’s wrong when lots of money possess you.

We live in a time when the main reality of our culture is economic reality. Expenses are expressions of one’s lifestyle. Money is no longer just a neutral medium of exchange; it has become a gauge of one’s status, lifestyle, worth and value. This is why money has become personal. Ask a person how much money he makes, and you’d do one of three things: admire him, envy him or look down on him. This isn’t a good thing.

I remember having a brief talk with a business tycoon while waiting for our flights inside the Business Class lounge. I haven’t seen him for years, so after pleasantries were exchanged, I asked him when he would slow down. This business tycoon suddenly turned serious and somber as he reflected on my question. After a few seconds of silence, he looked at me and said, “You know Francis, at this stage of my life, I could no longer stop. The moment I stop, my competitors will destroy me, and how could I answer to the thousands of families that are dependent on every decision I make and every action I take?”

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Most people don’t understand people like him. We judge them unfairly. We say, “These guys are so rich, but they’re never satisfied. They keep on wanting more and making more riches.” That’s an unfair statement to make.

I can go everywhere I want to go, do what I love most and get paid for it. I can choose which invitations to accept. I can go home every evening, play a game of computer basketball to unclog my mind, take a warm shower, then study and prepare for next day’s training. That tycoon couldn’t even slow down, take it easy and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Do not envy the rich, because rich people have rich people’s problems that you may not want to have and, I’m almost certain, you wouldn’t be capable of handling. Just be the best God wants you to be. Be contented with what you have, but never be contented with what you can be.

Money is the acid test of character. And there’s a great difference between riches and wealth. You and I may not have lots of riches, but we may be wealthy beyond measure. And my wealth ration increases all the more every time the wife of my youth and my three grown-up kids would say, “I love you, Dad!” Now how do you beat that?

(Develop your leadership skills and life skills by spending two whole days with Francis Kong on Sept. 12-13 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. For further inquiries, contact Inspire at 09158055910, or call 632-6310912 for details.)


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