The other day I was flipping through my dad’s Bible and found a well-worn copy of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ “Proud Spirits and Humble Hearts”. I was challenged and convicted spiritually by her list of 33 indicators comparing the attitudes and actions of the the Proud and the Humble (I would highly recommend it). As I was praying through it one morning, I had the thought of carrying her list into the financial arena. I tried to think of how her insights regarding the Proud vs. the Humble would play out in a monetary context. Here is what I came up with:
The proud focus on the financial failures of others. They use their knowledge of biblical instruction to criticize and condemn the actions of other people. The humble focus on their own need to grow and mature–continually recognizing how far they have to go to live up to the calling of the Bible’s instruction. They use their knowledge to help other people.
The proud have a deeply seeded sense of independence. They allow their financial success to drive a feeling of self-sufficiency. The humble awknowledge their dependence and are fully aware of their need of God’s provision (no matter how much money they have).
The proud have a demanding spirit, always making sure they get everything they think they deserve–down to the very last cent. The humble have a giving spirit and offer forgiveness and grace when they are shortchanged.
The proud have no concern for the poor. They figure the poor can “help themselves” if they want to improve their lot in life. The humble have a compassionate and caring heart for the poor, always eager to do what they can to help those in need.
The proud claim a boistrous control over their finances. They “check up on” gifts given and obsessively monitor their investments. The humble have a yielding spirit and recognize their money belongs to God. They are wise and good stewards, but show a certain level of detachment between their heart and money’s value.
The proud look down on those who make less money (and idolize those who make more). The humble view all people as equals and make no distinctions based on net-worth.
The proud want to be served. They have unrealistic expectations of everyone else–from their financial advisor to their waitress. The humble want to serve. They constantly search for opportunities to put other’s needs before their own.
The proud demand recognition and respect. They are upset and embittered when they feel overlooked or underappreciated. The humble make no chase after self-glorification (they work hard and well because of their character), and are happy to see others praised.
The proud are confident in how much they know and how well they handle their money. The humble are “humbled” by how much they have to learn.
The proud blame others for financial mistakes or lack of success. The humble accept personal responsibility for their mishaps.
The proud keep their financial decisions distant from everyone (sometimes even from their spouse), and refuse to seek advice for financial matters. The humble are open about how they handle their money with trusted friends (and especially their spouse!), and recognize the need for counsel.
The proud use money and possessions to portray image and status. They are very concerned with how they are viewed by others. The humble recognize the futility of defining oneself by temporal things.
The proud constantly compare themselves to other people: feeling good when they are doing better and jealous when they are not. The humble compare themselves to the holiness of God: seeing their desperate need of grace and gratitude for all of God’s blessings.
The proud cover their mistakes and try not to get caught (ie, misleading tax return). The humble repent of mistakes and strive for integrity regardless of whether or not anyone is watching.
The proud are obsessed with self-advancement in their career and social status. The humble are obsessed with helping others do well and achieve.
(I fully credit the heart of these insights to Nancy Leigh DeMoss. All I did was put them into a financial context.)