“Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.”
- Ecclesiastes 11:1
A young rich man once questioned Jesus about what he must do to gain eternal life. Jesus responded by telling him he lacked one thing, that he must sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor. But scriptures tell us, “When the man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
It was not until I read Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad that I began to understand the full meaning of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man. The story goes something like this: Kiyosaki had two father figures in his life, his “rich dad” who was his best friend’s father, and his “poor dad” who was his real father – although he was not actually poor. In the book he explains the contrast between his two fathers in their attitude toward money, the rich dad being a successful entrepreneur while the poor dad worked for a salary, although a quite comfortable wage. But the difference was that the rich dad viewed money – all things in life actually – as being abundantly available whether or not he possessed it at any given point in time. His poor dad, on the other hand, viewed money as scarce, even though he earned a substantial salary. “Rich Dad” had faith that given the abundance of creation he had the ability to produce wealth through hard work and his God-given ingenuity. “Poor Dad”, however, was dependent on others to pay his wages. And because of his faith “Rich Dad” was able to share generously with others, while “Poor Dad” gave only sparingly for fear of having nothing left from his limited resources.
“Rich Dad” was not rich because he always had money, nor was “Poor Dad” poor because he was broke. Instead, “Rich Dad” was rich because he had faith, while “Poor Dad” was poor because – like the rich young man – he lacked faith. “Rich Dad” lived out the proverb from Ecclesiastes: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.” And that is what Jesus had hoped for the rich young man he had encountered. We are not called to hold back and play it safe, but to invest in life through faith; for that is the path to true riches.