What is a “Self-Made” Man?

Apr 1, 2019Family Transformation, Financial Transformation

We live in a society that praises the idea of being self‑made. People embrace the belief that we can be the master of our own fate. From a young age, I’ve been encouraged to create my own success. Not only that, but I’ve been encouraged to admire people who appear to have “made it” on their own.

One of the most revered persons in today’s society is Warren Buffett, who started with nothing and built a huge company. Many people admire him and think of him as a self‑made man.

Another example can be found in the current stars on the popular show “Shark Tank”. Each one has a story of how they built their own company and succeeded. They have amassed a tremendous amount of wealth.

Our environment praises what we accumulate, viewing it as the ultimate measurement of success. This to a selfish pursuit because, at the end of the day, we are simply chasing wealth accumulation for accumulation’s sake.

What if a shift in thinking was the key to putting wealth in its proper place? Consider these three pieces for a different perspective:

The first piece comes down to acknowledging God’s favor. In Deuteronomy 8:18 it says, “And you shall remember the Lord, your God, for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth if He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers as it is this day.”

Something important to acknowledge is that we live in the wealthiest country in the world, at the wealthiest time in the world. I would encourage you to visit globalrichlist.com where studies show if you make more than $30,000 a year, you’re in the top 1 percent of the population’s richest in the world.

That knowledge lends itself to questions worth pondering. Why do we have more? Why were we born into the family that we were born into? Why weren’t we born at a different time? Why weren’t we born into a different culture? What if it’s not about us? What if God has given us wealth because he has an expectation? What if there’s something he’d like us to do with it?

Rather than accumulating for the sake of accumulation, what if it’s about something beyond us and a purpose bigger than us? The hardest question I may ever ask is: Why me? Why now?

The second piece is acknowledging that wealth is temporary. If you’ve followed my blogs, we’ve had conversations about the fact that 90 percent of wealth is gone from families within three generations. From an eternal perspective, everything on this earth doesn’t last. It all burns up in the end.

Proverbs 27: 23‑24 says, “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks and attend to your herds for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.” If wealth is temporary, should we really accumulate for accumulation’s sake? If we do, then are we guilty of building things for the sake of making ourselves look better?

If we choose to look through the lens of eternity and acknowledge that wealth is temporary, then our focus on how we can use our wealth and what it can accomplish begins to shift. We begin to see those around us who have needs and people, doing things we are passionate about, who need assistance.

We can create a win/win when we acknowledge the temporary nature of wealth. We can use our wealth to do something we’re passionate about, and at the same time, help people who need our assistance to get a leg up. We win and they win.

The third piece to acknowledge is we are temporary managers of the things we have. Every single one of us has an expiration date. At some point, we are going to pass away.

Scripture makes it clear we don’t own anything; God owns everything. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that it contains, the world and all those who dwell in it.” That verse pretty much encompasses anything you and I could ever get our hands on.

It’s not a popular opinion to acknowledge that we don’t own anything, but the truth of scripture spells it out. We are just managing that which God has entrusted to us.

If we are just the manager, then we must take a step back and ask the question, “What does the real owner want me to do with the things I’ve been entrusted with?” If we choose not to listen to the owner, what are the risks?

Without ever acknowledging the true owner, we can take the wealth we’ve been entrusted and spend it in a way that makes the most sense to us. Have we now missed why that wealth was entrusted to us?

It comes down to two versions of the same question: What do I want to do with God’s wealth? What does God want me to do with His wealth?

When I’m faced with this question, I know the version that aligns me with God’s will, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. At the end of the day, when we take the time to slow down and find out how the owner would want us to spend what He’s entrusted to us, we find a life that is more enriched, more engaged, and more on point.

Rather than starting with the idea that I did it all myself, we need to understand that we’ve been given wealth for a reason. That purpose can make a difference for eternity, if we simply ask the question, “Why?” Then, we have a real opportunity to make a difference in our time here on earth.

At Paradiem, we have a process specifically designed to help you ask the question, ”Why?” Give us a call at (985) 727-0770 or email [email protected], and let’s have a conversation.