May 1, 2017

My father drowned when I was 3 years old, leaving my mother penniless and with two small children to feed. It was the late 50s and the social welfare programs in America were bare sustenance. We moved into the projects surrounded by other people stuck in the same system of poverty for various reasons. I soon learned that there was a kind of camaraderie among poor people fueled by our common enemies. We all despised wealthy folks, railed against big business, and we blamed Uncle Sam for our deprived condition, to name just a few. We were little, powerless people; lost in the sea of humanity, paddling hard but getting nowhere. The winds of financial adversity pounded against our tiny boats, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, wealthy cruise ships passed us in haste, leaving us to contend with their wake. This further reminded us of the inconsiderate ways of the rich, and cemented in our minds the stone wall of indifference that divided the “haves” from the “have nots” of the world.

8 Differences Between Rich People and Wealthy People

I grew up poor and hating the rich. I didn’t know how to move out of that poverty thinking. It took years of understanding my worth, my identity in Christ, and God’s heart for abundant life (John 10:10) to learn what a wealth mindset is. It’s something that comes from the inside and works its way out in your life. I’m happy to say that I don’t think the same way as I did when I was a kid. The thing that I had to grasp was the fact that being rich and being wealthy are two completely different things. Here are some specific things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Rich people get their identity from the things they own; their houses, cars, yachts, money etc. Wealthy people’s identity comes from who they are, not what they own.

2. Rich people either spend a lot of time trying to not lose their money or they waste it on themselves. Wealthy people’s money is just an expression of who they are, so they are confident in their well being.

3. Rich people work for money. Wealthy people’s money works for them.

4. Rich people think of their assets, while wealthy people dream of their legacy.

5. Rich people give to people. Wealthy people invest in people, with an expectation of return on investment; measured by a predetermined outcome. Examples: A changed life, transformed neighborhood, a business profit.

6. Rich people think their money protects them; they have a sense of being above the law. Solomon put it like this in Proverbs 18:11, “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own imagination. Wealthy people are inherently humble because they are thankful, knowing that the source of their provision is the Lord.”

7. Rich people have a desire for the things they can buy. Wealthy people have a vision for the legacy they are leaving.

8. Most rich people’s money was given to them; they received an inheritance, won a lottery or a lawsuit, got lucky in the stock market etc. Therefore they don’t know how to reproduce it…how to make more. This creates a lot of insecurity in their souls. Wealthy people have wisdom and power to create wealth therefore they live with confidence, and aren’t afraid of the future.

These similes are not meant to be the last word on poverty, riches, and wealth. They are simple contrasts to help explain how people in each of these mindsets think. Similes also help to explain why many people are rich but far fewer of them are wealthy. Furthermore, because true wealth is first a condition of the heart that affects the world around you and is not necessarily related to how much money someone has in the bank; there are many wealthy people that don’t have a lot of assets. So where do you stand? How can you adjust your inner world to start thinking as a wealthy person instead of just dreaming of being rich? I’d love to hear what you think about this in the comments! And if you have any questions, I’d love to hear those as I continue to write more on this topic.

Topics: All TopicsIdentityLeadership


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