The Path to True Personal Wealth

I found Jerry Foster’s book, LifeFocus, to be a great read. In it I learned about the “Vector Principle,” a concept I have shared in several of my books.

Foster says all people tend to travel down three paths throughout life and that only one of these paths lead to what he calls “True Personal Wealth.” He says the other two, though well-traveled by many have the potential to lead to a wasted life.

Foster believes no one sticks to a single path exclusively. We all spend at least a little time on each. However, as we journey through the various phases of life, we tend to gravitate towards one of these paths as the major thoroughfare for our life.

The first path he calls, the path of Indifference. These people do not care about growing and developing because they do not want to be disturbed or troubled by others. The great scholar Francis Schaffer called it the desire for personal peace, which he said means “wanting to have my personal life pattern undisturbed in my lifetime, regardless of what the result will be in the lifetime of my children and grandchildren.”

A good example of this is in the parable of the talents as told by Jesus. Three men are given various talents (sums of money) and they are told to invest these talents and put them to good use. The third man takes his talent and buries it in the ground and then goes about his life undisturbed.

Foster says the path of indifference is the one you will most likely go down if you just let life happen to you without taking an active role in where you are going.

The second path is the path of Indulgence. This individual’s life is focused on personal gratification, on receiving and not giving. Foster says the operative word for the self-indulgent lifestyle is consume. These individuals derive personal satisfaction from pleasure, possession, power and prestige. They have no interest in investing in other people.

This reminds me of the parable of the sower and the seeds, where one of the seeds is choked off and bears no fruit. Jesus explains this as the person who because of the “worries of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and desires for other things chokes the word and it becomes unfruitful.”

The final path is the path of Influence. This is a person who desires to make an impact and a difference in the lives of others. Instead of seeking isolation, they are proactive, intentional people. They are not interested in themselves but investing in others. At the end of the day, they want their lives to make a lasting difference.

When I think about a path of influence I am reminded of these words from Max Anders: “God’s work always involves the eternal and when we align our lives with God’s purposes we participate in the eternal.”

Can you think of anything more significant than being involved in the eternal purposes of God and having an eternal influence?

Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.


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