Getting Rich vs. Growing Rich in Investments

Reliable wealth grows like an oak tree…slowly.

King Solomon once noted that there is really nothing new under the sun. Others have opined that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Acquiring wealth is no exception.

Getting Rich Quickly?

People have been trying to “get rich quick” since the dawn of time, and the vast majority have been wiped out, physically or financially, as a result. In antiquity, defeating your enemies in battle and plundering them was a great path to violent death for most, but great riches for a few.

In later times, the Dutch economy foundered under the frenzy known as Tulipmania (1636-7), British investors went broke in the aftermath of the South Sea Bubble (1719-1721), and the French lost heavily investing in the Mississippi Company (1719).

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Jesus, an Example of Mentoring Leadership

One of the greatest strengths of mentoring leaders is the ability to teach.  To reproduce himself, a man must teach, by words and by actions, those who are learning from him.  Jesus taught large groups and the people marveled at the wisdom and authority of His words.  He was doing His most important work, however, when He was teaching small groups of His disciples and other followers (Luke 24:32).

Mentoring leaders also use gifts of exhortation to mentor those entrusted to them.  Exhortation includes encouragement and instruction to do the right and wise thing.  After Peter’s proclamation of faith in Matthew 16:16, Jesus encouraged him.  After Peter denied Jesus in Matthew 26:69-75, Jesus encouraged him again (John 21:15-17).  Many times in the gospels Jesus exhorted His disciples.  Such gifts as exhortation and teaching are evidence of excellent communication, in this case sharing leadership principles and examples to the next generation of leaders.

Mentoring leadership is difficult in postmodern Western culture.  Technology has allowed us to be much more transient, changing homes, jobs, and even families at a rate unheard of in generations past.  Such technology allows us instant gratification.  We get what we want immediately by downloading it or having it delivered the next day and distribute what we want by uploading it or sending it.

Another problem is that we cocoon, doing things at home that used to require interaction with others.  Since so much entertainment is at home, including television, radio, internet, video and computer games, movies, and other things, people no longer have to mingle with others for something to do.  While our great grandparents might sit on the front porch and talk to neighbors for hours in the evenings, we sit alone in front of our computer interacting with people we will never meet on Facebook or watching the latest video on You Tube.  Even work can be done at home.

The rapid growth of information has made old information obsolete faster than ever before.  Cultural change also occurs more quickly.  Thus the aged, seen as founts of knowledge and wisdom in the past, are now seen merely as outdated.  In a previous generation a young girl might have asked her grandmother for advice on how to find a good husband.  Now, the teenager would probably never ask, and may reply “times have changed, grandma” if the older woman volunteered advice.  More likely, the younger woman would probably be more concerned about a good job than a good husband, and the elder would be even less able to help.

Another difficulty is that our society tells us constantly that doing bigger things is more important.  Leaders grow to believe that teaching a class of 10 is fine but teaching a class of 400 is better.  Better still is preaching to 5000, running a Fortune 500 company, or winning the Nobel Prize.  Why invest your life in a few when you can invest in millions?

These cultural changes increase the dangers in mentoring leadership compared to the past.  Mentors may become impatient with their mentees when the latter don’t seem to be learning.  Many times my wife and I have wondered if our children were getting anything we were saying.  Sometimes mentees turn out bad, like Judas Iscariot with Jesus Christ.

Another large problem is that mentors must give their charges more than information…they must give them their lives.  Each generation needs to learn from those that went before, the good and the bad.  Mentors cannot isolate themselves from those they mentor.  Further, in the day of zero tolerance for errors, mentors can become so afraid to let their mentees fail that they do everything themselves.  This may cause mentors to neglect other responsibilities which only they can do.  The end result of this “do everything” spiral is burnout.

Jesus mentored well, managing to avoid the problems and dangers and build His disciples into men who could lead a church which today covers the globe.  Since Deuteronomy 6, God has been telling His people to mentor others.  Jesus provides a fine example.

 

Hezekiah – an Example of Crisis Leadership

Hezekiah had the same foibles and failings as the rest of us, and that is why his example is worth studying. 

After the golden age of Israel, during the reigns of David and his son Solomon, Israel split apart.  The tribes of Judah and Benjamin kept Rehoboam, grandson of David as their king, but the northern ten tribes chose Jeroboam, an Ephraimite.  The subsequent history of Israel is a sad tale of uniformly evil rulers, people unfaithful to the Lord, and near extermination by the Assyrians two hundred years later (721 BC).  The history of Judah is little better, with a few good kings, including Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Uzziah and Jotham interspersed with many evil ones.  Judah lasted 135 years longer than Israel but became progressively more wicked and was finally overwhelmed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

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David, an Example of Growth and Development in Leadership

David, man after God’s own heart, was God’s chosen man at a crucial time in Israel’s history. We can learn from him. 

Of all the leaders in ancient Israel, the greatest are Moses, whom we have already discussed, and David, who is the subject of this article.  David’s father was Jesse, the son of Obed and descendant of Boaz, a wealthy landowner.  His ancestral lineage was through the line of Judah, a ruler among his people.  David was Jesse’s youngest son, a shepherd boy, without the obvious potential of his older brothers.  Nonetheless, David had a heart after God, and that enabled him to become the greatest king of Israel.

Israel had been ruled by judges for hundreds of years since conquering the Promised Land.  Eventually, the people grew tired of local government and wanted a king to rule over them.  Their choice was Saul, a man of the central tribe of Benjamin who was remarkable primarily for his good looks and his height (1 Samuel 9:2).  The story of his rise to power in 1st Samuel is somewhat bizarre, but God gave him every chance to succeed.  Unfortunately he had major flaws as a king and the Lord rejected him (1 Samuel 15:22-28).  God sent Samuel to anoint a new king of His own choosing, sent him to Bethlehem to the house of Jesse, and here David, the unlikely leader, entered the stage.

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