Imagine you are struggling with how to manage your money? Imagine having the thoughts running through your head that you wish you had more money; that if you just had a little more money, you would be able to make ends meet. If you just had a little more money, all your problems would go away. If you are anything like me, at one time or another, similar thoughts have crossed your mind. In How to Be Rich, Andy Stanley addresses the problem behind this thought process. The problem is not that most of us do not have enough money or stuff, but it is what we do with what we have.
This book started as a series of messages Andy preached at his church in Atlanta in 2007 titled “How to be Rich.” In Andy’s own words, 2 things prompted this series:
First, our culture’s incessant messages about how to get rich when, in fact, most of us got rich a long time ago and nobody told us. Second, Paul’s instructions to Timothy regarding how rich Christians are to behave. After studying the passage, I was left with the realization that a lot of rich Christians are not very good at being rich. Then it dawned on me: Well of course they’re not. Nobody has taught them how! (p. 15)
Andy’s goal for How to Be Rich is to give Christians, and the church, a resource to “force conversation and reflection around the topic of what to do with what you have. (p. 17)” And after reading this book, I can vouch that Mr. Stanley accomplished his purpose. As the subtitle of the book states, if we really look at our lives and our possessions, what it comes down to is “It’s not what you have; it’s what you do with what you have.” This is the truth I needed to hear as I read this book; especially as I sat down to do our taxes for this year. I have heard a quote before and after seeing it in this book I am starting to realize that my stuff really does have a hold on me. The quote is that God is not consumed with what stuff we have, as long as our stuff does not have us. This is the deep issue with the thought of being rich. If you were to ask people you think are rich if they are rich, most of them would probably reply no. They believe they are not rich because the people they think are rich make more than them so therefore they are not rich. This goes back to the quote I shared above that states we have not been shown how to be good at being rich. According to the book and Sports Illustrated, around “78 percent of NFL players find themselves bankrupt or financially stressed within two years of retirement. And 60 percent of NBA players are broke within 5 years of walking off the court. (p. 34)” This is because they are not taught how to manage their money. They are not taught how to be good at being rich. It comes down to managing well.
In the book, Andy presents a process to help win the most important battle to be won, the battle of the mind if we are to be good managers of what we have. If we do not change our thought process regarding the idea of “rich” then nothing else will change. Our minds have to grasp the idea that we are truly rich, especially when you compare what even the poorest among us might have to those around the world. The main part of the book helps the reader understand there is a change that needs to take place within ourselves for us to get better with what God has blessed us with. The book shares a story from Andy’s personal life regarding how they hosted a small group which did a financial study. They had homework and one week they were to discuss as couples what they would say was the season in their marriage they were most content. Everyone in the group concluded they experienced the most contentment early in their marriage when they had less than they do now. Many people would probably agree our lives are many times better when we do not have as much stuff. But, at the same time, our lives would remain to be that simple if we would just make sure the stuff we have, never has us. One question I believe anyone who reads this book will be left with is this: “What would it look like for you to honor God with ALL of your stuff? (p. 116)” That is the question we as Christians should be asking.
Simply put, this book is one that has given me a better perspective with how to manage my stuff. How to Be Rich is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to get a better handle on managing their stuff as well. This book would also be a great study for churches to work through together because it does not simply teach points to follow to get rich; it teaches towards a lifestyle that honors God. So go out and get this book, you will be glad you did.
In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of by Zondervan in exchange for this review.
If you are interested in the book, here is a link to purchase it on Amazon through my part in their affiliate program. I would receive a small share from the sale from Amazon.