Reputation Over Riches

Prov 22:1

"Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold."

It’s easy in our working, paying bills, mowing lawns, shopping, school fees, going to and fro, TV watching, magazine and blog reading, sports, trying to afford holidays, mortgaging for that dream house - all the normal stuff - to allow our focus to fall on accumulating wealth and material possessions. We’ve all been there: we’ve all wished for better circumstances, hoped for a nicer house, prayed for a full bank account when the bills arrive, dreamt of exotic holidays and desired high paying, satisfying vocations. It's pretty normal to want to have these things and dream and plan for them. Who wouldn’t want to go on a month-long tour of Italy just for fun!!

But when the desire for more wealth, more anything, starts to impact your moral decisions in a negative sense, you know you’ve gone too far. Putting money over morality is never the right choice. And it means that you’ve entered into a space where money is your master - it controls your decisions, what you say and what you do to amass ‘greater riches.’

The deceptive thing about money is that it looks like you can buy everything you’ve ever wanted with it. But as the bank account grows, the ‘want’ and ‘need’ list grows also… Buying more and more will never fill your life with the things that matter.

Jim Carrey has said, “I wish everyone would get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

I find in my own life that every time I reach a goal, every time I pay off a loan, or a bill, or start that new job, or get back from that holiday, new challenges arrive with the new territory. Reaching the goal doesn’t cure need. It just creates more of them. Living to get more creates a shallow existence based on exteriors and image; things that can be wiped away in a moment. Who are you when all your stuff disappears? When you finish that job? When you’re at home with your family or out with friends? When your designer clothes get ruined and you crash your expensive car?

A certain type of wealth resides in silver and gold, your material possessions and ‘stuff’, but to be truly rich is a matter of the heart. To have a reputation of authenticity, love and joy, of things that hold true beyond money and glitz and glamour is a treasure to spend your life in its pursuit. "Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” Brene Brown.

Be responsible, pay your bills, go on holidays, save up for things that you like... but don’t be fooled into thinking that things and stuff make your life meaningful. Life is so much more than things. The Minimalists (www.theminimalists.com) say, "You are so much more than your stuff. Even in an empty room, the value is within you, not your things.”

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Appreciate

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