In the mind of Americans, there are two kinds of wealthy people: Those who are blessed and a blessing, and those who are cursed. For every story of the healthy-minded wealthy person, you hear two about rich people who have great wealth that does not give them joy–those who are in fact being destroyed by their own actions as a result of their wealth.

“But I”, you say to yourself optimistically, “I will not be like that if I ever come into money. I will enjoy it and share it and not let it morph me into a greedy, angry, depressed, or destructive person”.

That’s our hope, anyway. Some of us live for that hope. And some of us despair of ever enjoying those kinds of benefits. And for others, it is an idol.

But what if you could have the blessings of this blessed (i.e. non-destructive) kind of wealthiness where you are, with the income you have* right now?  You can. There are ways you can experience the goodness without using your financial resources. Here’s how:

Four Ways To Feel Rich (Without Spending Money)

  1. Sit

When you think about the happy rich people, those who are enjoying the blessings of financial resources, what are they doing? Are they frantic? Are they overly busy? No, you picture them experiencing leisure time. Relaxing. Enjoying life. You see them feeling the blessing of substantial margins.

Do you know that you could enjoy this right now? You could turn off the computer and close your eyes and rest. Or read a good book. Or take a bath. Or talk to a friend or a family member that you like. And these are all activities that cost no (or almost no) money.

Now certainly you can do all of these things to excess, but I bet there are some of these that you haven’t done in too long of a time.

  1. Declutter

As you consider the wealthy and their home, there is one thing that might jump to your mind: Space. Mansions have open areas. They are not cramped.

Now think of where you spend most of your time at home. For no cost at all, you can make your life more like theirs by getting rid of stuff. By clearing away items on the floor and on any flat surface. Put it away, throw it away, sell it.

You may be thinking, “If I don’t have a knickknack on that decorative shelf, it’s a waste of that resource.” No. The best use for that for that decorative shelf (or coffee table, or counter) is to show that you have space.

And this one might actually save you money; the next time you’re at a shop and see something you think is cute–something that you’re tempted to buy and bring home and find the perfect place for–say to yourself: No, I don’t have a perfect place for this.

  1. Pray Before Meals

One thing the rich have: Easy meals. As you watch the upstairs people on Downton Abbey, it’s clear; they don’t have to shop for food, they don’t have to cook, they don’t have to do dishes.  They just sit down, and the servants do it all for them. The modern-day rich go out to eat, and the restaurant staff brings their meals to them.

But you…you don’t have servants and you don’t have the resources to go out to eat as often as you’d like.

But every meal you ever eat, there is a moment – a moment where everything is prepared and on the table and you’re sitting down (maybe with your family) to eat it. At that moment, you’re just like the wealthy who have their food made for them and presented at the big dining table. Your food is ready to for you to enjoy it. And if you don’t stop to think about it, you miss this glorious moment. So stop. Pray. Give thanks. You have food. It’s ready for eat. Enjoy the moment.

  1. Seek to See Grace

I get the feeling that the wealthy people who are happy are the ones who feel lucky.

There’s a scene in “That Thing You Do”, the Tom Hanks movie about a 60’s pop band that goes from nothing to being famous over the course of the summer. Just as they are about the play their big song on the big nationally-broadcast television show, one of the band members asks another, “How did we get here?”

I’m pretty sure that’s how many of the healthy and joy-filled wealthy feel: How did I get here? I don’t feel like I’ve done much to merit this. The fact that I’m getting this is a gift that I have been given to enjoy and not take for granted. So I should enjoy it and not take it for granted!

And you can experience this. Some of you who are reading this experience chronic daily pain, but most of you do not. If you don’t, do you think about that and feel blessed?

Some of you are currently experiencing family crises, but many of you aren’t. If you aren’t, do you thank God that you have peace with your family right now?

Some of you are unemployed (or underemployed), but most of you are not. Do you think about that? Do you remember the day you got the job – the feeling of relief and joy? Feel that now.

There are people in the world who don’t even have a bed to sleep in. But you probably do. It’s probably as comfortable as what the rich sleep in. Neither the rich, nor you, deserve a bed more than those who don’t have one.

As I say, these (and many, many other things) are gifts from your Maker. They are works of grace on your behalf. Consider them, enjoy them, be thankful for them.

You could do that for hours; it might give you a lot of joy and peace and feelings of thankfulness for what you’ve been given, and it wouldn’t cost a penny.

Non-rich person, live in that spirit, and you won’t be troubled that you don’t have a mansion, a yacht or a limo.

* I believe that while almost all Americans are not poor by worldly standards, there is a non-zero set of authentically poor people in the US, and there are many who don’t have a good idea where the resources to pay for next month’s food or lodging is going to come from. I do not mean to belittle their experience in this essay.

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