To be the master of money, you need to be smarter than it. Then money will do as it is told. It will obey you. Instead of being a slave to it, you will be the master of it. That is financial intelligence.”
– Robert Kiyosaki, RICH DAD, POOR DAD
In a previous post I offered a gentle critique of Kiyosaki’s idea of “little greed,” which he espouses in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Today I’m going to do a turn-around and say “He’s right!” when he encourages us to be smarter than money. He explains, “Too often today, we focus on borrowing money to get the things we want instead of focusing on creating money. One is easier in the short term, but harder in the long term. It’s a bad habit that we as individuals, and as a nation, have gotten into. Remember, the easy road often becomes hard, and the hard road often becomes easy.” He goes on to say, “The earlier you can train yourself and those you love to be masters of money, the better. Money is a powerful force. Unfortunately, people use the power of money against themselves. If your financial intelligence is low, money will run all over you. It will be smarter than you. You will work for it all your life.”
Probably the most famous verse in the Bible regarding money is 1 Timothy 6:10, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Many people take this to mean that God is absolutely against money. Didn’t Jesus say, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one or love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”? But as many Bible commentators have pointed out, it is the love of money, rather than money per se, which is the root of all evil. And while it is true that one cannot serve God and money, Jesus also said, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:12)
As Kiyosaki pointed out, Money is a powerful force and there is the very real danger of being tempted to love it and being enslaved by it. But the right response to this danger is not to jettison money out of one’s life completely (as if that were possible!) but to use it to serve God. The fact is a lot of good is being done all over the world because of money. We provide for our families by means of money, we support churches and missionaries by means of money, we pay for our hospital bills by means of money, we build schools and hospitals and orphanages by means of money, we send our children to school by means of money, we help alleviate the plight of the poor and the needy by means of money, and so on and so forth. To be sure, Paul warns us about the dangers accompanying the desire to be rich (1 Timothy 6:9), and he reminds rich people not to trust in their riches but in God (1 Timothy 6:17). Also, the author of Hebrews tells us, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” But loving money is one thing, being trustworthy in handling worldly wealth (as Jesus said) is another thing. The Bible does not advocate greed, but it does advocate faithful stewardship, and that includes being smart enough to handle money well.