“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:24
So what does a rich man have to say when he owns an enormous amount of wealth?
A few days ago, I had the privilege to attend the breakfast meeting with one of the richest man in Singapore, Philip Ng, CEO of Far East Organization. According to Forbes, the net worth of Philip and his brother Robert Ng is $12.8 Billion.
When you think about someone having that kind of wealth, you may imagine a man with the aura of self-sufficiency, a man with everyone’s attention, a man who is too confident and proud to acknowledge anyone, a man with borderline arrogance that comes from money. Well, I’ve seen many new rich like that, but that is NOT Philip.
He was calm and humble. I don’t feel any distance when shaking his hand, he is just like an old friend.
Many may have expected to hear the secrets of building business and amassing wealth. After all, what else does the rich care except money? But Philip talked about God and faith. Even if I am a free thinker, I cannot help being inspired by his speech.
He quoted one of the stories from the Bible. When a rich man asked Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied,
‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.”
“Teacher,” the man declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At these words the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Philip went on saying, “The ironic thing about possession is that you don’t possess the possessions, the possessions possess you.” I totally agree. We all know that we were not born with money and we cannot bring money away when we leave, yet it is so hard to let go of what we think we own.
We think we own the house we stay but it will worth nothing once the lease expires; we think we own the nice car downstairs but it will just become a scrap of metal once the COE expires; we think we own the nice Rolex watch on the table and the Prada bag on the sofa, but we all know one day nobody will touch them anymore.
The truth is, we own nothing, we are just renting them for the usage, we are holding the assets in trust.
So if you got this point, I think we will do a lot of things the right way. I am not saying we should not pursue wealth. In fact, we should, and with greater desire! But we do it with good objectives and goals.
Martin Luther King said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
That may sound too holly or too far. But shouldn’t it be time for us to re-think about why we make money, why we want wealth?
If you were a billionaire, what will you do? Tell me by leaving comments below.
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