The strategies for wealth people choose is a revelation of their interests and skills. Since most people have an objective in mind when they begin their career path, the objective dictates the road they will follow, and the journey to get there will be a strong evidence of that person’s inclinations, desires, aptitudes, and most importantly, moral character.
Professionally, people become another version of who they already are.
Strategies for wealth employed through one’s vocation thereby drives what that vocation looks like by the nature and character of the individual. It does not really matter what the vocation is; it matters how the person lives and works within that vocation.
Two Strategies for Wealth
A person can achieve wealth in one of two primary ways: labor or fraud. The two ways are exclusive of each other because if you are following the path of labor you have no time or resources for fraud, and if you are pursuing fraud you have no need or desire to labor. They are diametrically opposed.
Now most people begin their careers by the default method of labor. The labor might be studying, researching, calculating, or selling. It might be working in a field or building things with one’s hands, or any number of ways to produce a product or render a service.
However, there are some who early on seek to find ways to generate wealth by cheating, lying, and stealing, or a mix of all three. These people do this simply because they do not want to labor. The basic idea is to use the “labor of others” for unjust gain, via trickery and deception. Essentially, this is what fraud is.
Solomon, the greatest business mind that ever lived, had this to say about the two-tiered approach to achieving wealth:
“Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.” Proverbs 13:11
This verse is not alone on the subject… there are in fact many verses in Scripture which speak of the right path to sure wealth, and it is ALWAYS by labor. Labor is the way which God designed for mankind to provide for himself and his own. And as we can see so clearly, labor has a thousand faces. Labor can take many, many forms, but at its core, it is basic human resources deployed in the marketplace to create products or services.
But not all are inclined to labor. The human heart is desperately wicked, as Jeremiah lamented, and many are inclined to use any means necessary to escape hard work to achieve wealth. And unfortunately, many are successful in it.
In other verses related to this one, Solomon clarifies his concept of fraud. Look at these:
“An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning will not be blessed in the end.” Proverbs 20:21
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5
“A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 28:20
Do you see a common thread here? Haste. Speed. Hurried. Rushed. Fraud is often energized by doing things quickly. Deceit and haste go hand in hand.
Years ago my grandparents’ house was burglarized. In the middle of the day, in broad daylight, some criminals just walked into the house, right past my grandparents, and went straight for the bathroom vanities and a few other places, grabbed some jewelry, and ran out. Literally gone in a few seconds.
Sometime later I did some research on how these criminals operate. I learned that the most common method used by house burglars was to simply walk in, go straight to the most common places for money and jewelry, rummage through them, and walk out as fast as possible. They didn’t threaten or even make a noise. Just in and out. BAM and they were gone.
The idea was speed. Burglars found they could get more with less of a chance of being caught if they moved fast, even running the risk of not finding some potential items worth stealing. To them, a little stolen and escaping was better than a lot stolen… and being caught.
We can see this whole idea of speed really comes into play in the devil’s schemes. His mantra, no matter what the subject, is always and forever: “Hurry, enjoy now and don’t worry about the future. You need this NOW. Move fast!” Never does the devil want people to take their time, contemplate, and wait for good things. He pushes haste in all his deceptions.
The False Concept of Wealth
Being of unmatched wisdom and knowledge, we can trust Solomon’s perspective on wealth obtained by fraud. Yes, there are many examples of people committing fraud on so many levels and getting away with it. In fact, some of the wealthiest people in the world have built their wealth with fraud, and they’ve done it quickly. So how can we reconcile Solomon’s analysis of fraudulent strategies for wealth, in light of the results we often see? How can Solomon say wealth obtained by fraud “dwindles”, when there are many rich folk who have been rich for a long time who are also fraudsters?
The answer is simple, actually. The book of Proverbs explores principles of truth, which apply generally throughout human life. The book of Proverbs does not isolate every single circumstance and address it. God, the ultimate author of the Proverbs, like every other book in Scripture, is all knowing and sees every life, and can accurately ascertain the end results.
Just because in our limited view and understanding, we know of persons who seem to be an exception to the biblical axioms, it does not mean those people are actually refuting God’s word by their current life. How can we know the end of these people? How can we know if they are retaining their wealth even though they obtained it via fraud? And what is “retaining” wealth, after all?
For one thing, the manner in which the world views having wealth is drastically different than God’s idea of being wealthy. Criminals typically surround themselves with other criminals. And you know something? They are all wondering when the other criminal is going to try to take what they have, and vice versa. They go to every extreme to watch their accomplices while at the same time they are being watched by their accomplices.
How is that for being wealthy?
The truth is, living in fear of losing what you have and viewing as enemies others who have been integral to your fraudulent gain of wealth is the definition of poverty, in my view. People like this HAVE NOTHING, really.
Some of the genuinely wealthiest people on earth have very little, actually. For riches are not a factor of dollars in your bank account, or things in your garage. Wealth is a state of mind. The wealthiest people on planet earth are those who are content with what they have. You see, these people do not worry about others stealing what they have, or the government taxing them to oblivion. They have just what they need, and are happy for it. They don’t need more.
THIS IS GENUINE WEALTH!
The good and right strategies for wealth, true wealth, involve two key components, and they are simple: labor and contentment.
If you labor diligently, it matters little what you do. You will be provided for. And when you gain wealth (in its many and variable forms), decide to be content with what you have. This is the crystal clear path to achieving, and retaining, wealth.
Avoid the schemes of the devil, which almost invariably incorporate deceit and haste. Lying and rushing are guarantees to dwindling wealth. Dwindling, because much of it will be lost through the implementation of the law, the thieving by one’s associates, and even more, the depletion of the meaning of having gained anything at all. If the possession of wealth makes one feel poorer than before, what have they gained that they have not also lost?
Do you wish to achieve wealth? Are you looking for the ultimate strategies for wealth? They come about through the blessing of God, as beautifully stated here:
“It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.” Proverbs 10:22