I remember in my early twenties reading a book called the ‘The Magic of Thinking Big,’ In my circles at the time thinking big was being able to pay the rent, buy a suede coat after saving up for months, or just having a job. My limiting environmental programming had taught me that to want much more was greed, to ask for more than the basics was selfish. I had to overcome this early programming in order to be successful.
A familiar phrase of the elders were, “The children in Africa are starving.” Their intent was “Be grateful,” for they had gone through much harder times and sacrificed for us to have what little we had. But, the message I heard was, “Don’t ask for much in life.” Even the church was complicit, teaching that, “It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven.” Their intent was to teach us not to put wealth before God. The message I got was that I had to choose between God and wealth because it is impossible to have both.
Even as a child I knew that it was impossible for a camel to get through the eye of a needle. Fortunately I learned later in life that ‘The Eye of the Needle” is a difficult camel passage and a place and not a physical needle. That changed the message entirely. To complete the negative indoctrination regarding money, my father would comment regularly when seeing rich people that they were crooks. I’m sure that was probably his personal experience doing migrant work and growing up in the South. However the takeaway message confirmed the church’s message, “If you choose wealth, then you are going against God and salvation.”
Who says you can’t have both? There are so many spiritual teachings that teach us of our power and greatness. Abundance is also an attribute of God and as spiritual heirs, wealth is ours. The importance determinant is what we do with that wealth. Do we serve, remain moral and upright, and are we grateful to the point of sharing? That’s how we measure the value of wealth.
I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires. To find out more about me check out: What Does Barbara Do? or visit my website.