Monday, March 9, 2009

The right way to be rich

Here's a new John Piper video addressing the question, "What is the right way to be rich?"


  1. Piper gives great advice in this video, but IMO, his perspective of off.

    All of his examples of 'wealth' alluded to people I would consider to be extremely or extravagantly rich. The reality is, most Americans, yes, even those living beneath the 'poverty level' set by America's government are RICH compared to billions of people living all over the world.

    Face it, anyone reading this blog is rich.

    Piper would better serve his audience if he acknowledged this and allowed his examples of wealth reflect it.

    ie. Did you eat three nutritious meals today? You are rich. Do you wear different clothes every day? You are rich. Do you own a computer? You are rich.

    Don't talk about expensive cars, homes, boats. That lets us off the hook too easy!

  2. I have no doubt Piper would agree all Americans are rich. I've heard him talk many times about the slums of Calcutta, etc. But, if he was merely to say we're all rich, what should his advice be? Since you're reading this blog, you're rich; but what does that mean for you? You're not giving up your internet access.

    Yes, there is a difference between 'absolute poverty' (not having enough food) and 'relative poverty' (not being able to afford a 3 bedroom apartment for your family. But, then we still have to consider what that wealth means.

    Here's an example I've considered recently. Jennifer and I have a Ford Focus. Now, simply having a car makes us rich, by comparison to most of the world. But can we actually get by without a car. Yes and no. Yes, if we want to move to the migrant part of the county and ride the citrus company bus to the orange groves and earn minimum wage; or yes if we want to limit our job prospects to only those places served by the very limited public bus system. If I want to keep my decent paying job, though, I need a vehicle. So, does having one of the cheapest cars available make us rich?

    So, what is the "hook" that I need to feel in this case? Figuring that out is partially the purpose of this blog.

  3. Bruce, you said "But, if he was merely to say we're all rich, what should his advice be?"

    My point is that the advice would be the same, only, he wouldn't let pretty much every member of his audience 'off the hook' by only using examples of extreme wealth.

    I said his perspective was off, not his advice.

    If his perspective was off of the ultra rich (he seems to be fixated on condemning the ultra rich - his latest blog post "Bernard Madoff: How Are the Mighty Fallen!") then his advice would be MUCH more practical. My guess is, most people sitting in our churches today, if asked, would NOT agree that they are "rich."

  4. I think that even the homeless in the United States are rich compared to many third world countries. I didn't read Piper's article. He writes such long ones, that I lose interest or don't get the point all the time because of his many words. He is a gifted speaker and writer, so the difficulty is with me I am sure.
    I do agree that I am rich, and yet, I live on a fixed income. I am not going by money or possessions but by the blessings I get from God. Thanks for letting me comment. Shirley..

  5. Shirley,

    The fact that few people in the US actually starve to death shows that the poorest in the US are relatively better off than millions in the world. John Piper's writings aren't always easy to understand--partially because they can be long, and partially because he is so detailed and thorough that there's just a lot of information to grasp. You could check out his Taste and See articles, which are much shorter and straightforward.


We intend this blog to be a discussion about wartime living, so we always welcome your thoughts.