We live in a culture that keeps score.
I believe in keeping score. I believe that there are winners and losers, and I also believe that’s a good thing. Competition’s been great for our culture and ultimately leads to improvement, progress and things getting better overall.
You may be a little confused at first by what I’m about to say.
I wholeheartedly believe in winning.
Please don’t mistakenly hear what I’m about to share as someone who believes in “participation awards”—I don’t.
I lived most of my life thinking “Net Worth” was an accurate way of keeping score with how well I was doing in life. An ever increasing net worth meant that I was doing better, I was successful and life was good. I expect we all assume that when the latest Forbes 400 is released, not only do those featured in the magazine have an unfathomable amount of wealth, they also have great lives to go along with it.
I found out differently.
Not that I’ve been in Forbes, but I’ve experienced great wealth. I’ve rubbed shoulders with very wealthy people, we kept score and improved our game year after year.
Something funny I noticed though:
As wealth grows, quality of life doesn’t always grow with it.
Sure, those with wealth have nicer houses, sweet cars, awesomer vacations and dine at finer restaurants. But at the end of the day, they still have as much conflict in their homes, broken relationships, stress and worry as those without wealth.
In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that those with wealth tend to struggle more in their relationships then those without wealth.
On the poorest end of the spectrum, it’s just harder to hide the life issues. On the upper end, people can create and build a facade much more easily—they can make life look good, when in fact it’s not going all that hot behind closed doors.
To the outsider looking in, everything looks great, but in many instances, it’s just not. This was a hard lesson to learn as I grew to experience my own success, and found myself surrounded by friends on a similar trajectory.
For most, the goal of life is net worth. But believing that net worth makes things better in life is an unfortunate lie!
Let’s face it: As we pursue wealth, our hope is to have a great life, enjoy great relationships, and to be admired and seen as significant. Until we decide to make life a priority, money will always be a poor substitute for the things we really desire to experience.
A recent quote from an email I got recently:
It’s contradictory to believe that a given life objective can be reached by financial means. The blind pursuit of financial freedom is often closer to slavery than it is to liberation. It’s making life a tool for money, whereas money should be made a tool for life. —Kent Thune
The problem is that we tend to believe the message our culture around us is force-feeding: That we need a greater net worth before we can experience a greater life worth.
If what we really want is life, we should pursue that. Wealth may or may not come for you. But the life you have can be richly experienced every day, with or without wealth.
I suggest that both great wealth and a great life can be achieved, but not if you make net worth your higher worth priority. In your pursuit of a higher net worth, you will likely sacrifice life to get it.
But if you pursue life with a greater passion, you will be a better person to pursue wealth. Everything about you will be better, and you also won’t be as concerned about the score. You’ll be more content with all that you have.
But when you’re not winning at the net worth game, you’ll question everything in your life.
So, tell me…what’s your greater passion and higher pursuit: A higher net worth or high life worth? I’d love to hear any thoughts or comments you might have below.
Great post, my pursuit is a better life, and really just being the best father I can be to my girls. Spending time with them and making sure to infuse Jesus into their life.
I love how far you have come. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how far you will go!
Great post! Just what I needed to contemplate this morning.
Thank you for this article. I perceive that it reveals a deep biblical truth, ie the (dare I say) “deception” behind the whole concept of “net worth”. The deception being the very inclusion of the words “net worth” as something I might focus on, talk about, or pay attention to.
In such cases the person who does these things, to them, their money is, in fact, an idol.
In Christ, our “worth” has nothing to do with our financial status, as such status is measured by the world and the world’s system. Rather, for the Christ follower, I believe that in order to get the revelation of our true worth, one must separate themself entirely from the concerns that are associated with building a net worth. This is, in fact, following the command of Christ to take no thought for the morrow, to cast all of our cares upon Him, to be anxious for nothing, etc.
Western culture has poisoned and brainwashed the minds of practically everyone who lives in this hemisphere to the point that “a successful and prosperous life” literally almost always involves the lie that money and/or worldly possessions (regardless of the means used to obtain them ie debt) are the measure of success, happiness, and abundance of life fulfillment.
So in a sense many people, even Christians, can tend towards either believing the LIE that an ever-increasing and high positive net worth defines our worthiness, OR the LIE that we can use debt and establish budgets based on TODAY’S CIRCUMSTANCE to buy big houses, expensive cars, prestigious university education (which often reinforce endocrination of more lies), elaborate vacations, expensive trendy brand name clothing and jewelry, etc.
This article should be a reminder to every one of the following truthful definition of sin: SIN: it takes you further than you want to go, it keeps you longer than you want to stay, it cost you more than you want to pay! Turn to Jesus, He is The one and only Way, The one and only Truth, and The one and only Life. He is the only one that can fill the void in the human heart which longs for something more regardless of one’s financial status, and level of worldly possessions.
Hold on loosely because God owns it all anyway, and learn to be like the Apostle Paul who says that no matter what state we are in, whether we are abased or whether we abound, always find our contentment in God alone. (Phil 4:12-13)
I choose both. : )
😉 I’m with you Martha. But which one is most important? That’s the part we can’t forget.
Ditto Martha and Steve. Great post. Important to keep this at front of our minds as we go about our day to day pursuits