INTERVIEW WITH THE WORLD’S RICHEST MAN
Each morning we hear about another fire sale of one of our financial companies and each night the financial pundits argue over who is the real culprit. Is it greedy Wall Street or is it mismanaged government-sponsored enterprises? I decided to get in touch with the richest man who ever lived. It is not Warren Buffett or Bill Gates or Carlos Slim (all three are neck-to-neck at $60 billion – like it matters at that point!). The world’s richest man (King Solomon) would have dwarfed the wealth of today’s richest people, topping the modern-day equivalent of $1 trillion, or $1,000 billion! His nation was at the height of prosperity during his leadership. I asked him some questions about our economy.
Question: Why are we in this mess?
Answer: Lack of Wisdom. “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” (Proverbs 24:3)
Question: How can we get this wisdom?
Answer: When I became the leader of my people, I asked God for wisdom. God was so impressed that He said, “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice behold, I have done according to your words; . . . And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor.”(1 Kings 3:11-13)
Question: Who is responsible for our economy?
Answer: All of you. For an economy to improve you have to go from being a consumptive society to a producing one. “He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!” (Proverbs 28:19)
Question: How can the average family survive this crisis?
Answer: Planning and budgeting still work. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)
Question: What is the first step in budgeting?
Answer: Learn to be content. Remember, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
Question: What is your philosophy on debt management?
Answer: It’s short and simple: the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)
Question: Does it matter how we gain money?
Answer: Remember, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.” (Proverbs 11:1)
Question: What can you say to those who are afraid of the future?
Answer: You cannot live in fear and doubt. “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4)
Question: How did you make sure that your wealth was secure?
Answer: Remember to give your tithe to the Lord. “Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)
Question: Wish we had more time to get your insight.
Answer: There is nothing new under the sun. You may read some of my books: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Copies of the books may be found in your Bible (usually collecting dust on coffee tables and lamp stands).