Dave Ramsey is famous for saying, “If you live like no one else, later you can live (and give) like no one else.” Thomas J. Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy, wrote an entire book that details how to become rich. The surprising thing is, people who are the wealthiest tend to live as though they had little. Those who tend to be wealthy are generally so because they do not spend their money frivolously. There are some who do, but often those are more of your athletes and movie stars. The “real” rich do not go out and buy mansions, lots of expensive cars, and $2,000 suits. They understand how hard a buck is to earn, and so they are careful how they spend it.
Solomon wrote, “One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth,” (Proverbs 13:7, ESV). Many people today are trying so hard to keep up with the Joneses that they have not realized that they actually become the Joneses. One neighbor (or friend) gets a car and so the other needs to get a car, but a little better, which means that the original car-buyer has to one-up the other guy. Or perhaps one neighbor buys a new lawn mower, which makes the next door guy feel like his is out of date, and so he goes and buys a new mower, but the guy next door to him (two doors down from the original guy) sees both his neighbors having new mowers and so now has to get in on the action. The problem is that none of them can actually afford (as in cash on hand) to get one, and they all finance their mowers. Everyone is pretending to be rich, but really have nothing–no wealth. Meanwhile, down the street the millionaire, that no one suspects as being one, is mowing his grass (himself) with a mower he has to constantly work on to keep it running. The other three laugh at his rundown rickety old thing, but as he pretends to be poor, in reality, he has great wealth.
So what should we do? Live like no one else, so that later we can live (and give) like no one else, pretend to be poor so that we can gain wealth. Money is not the only thing in life; not even close. However, God has made us stewards of His resources so that we can live and give according to His will.