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Friday, March 11, 2011

Are rich Kenyan men stingy?

Yesterday, our hosts were talking about rich Kenyan men. Apparently rich Kenyan men are very stingy with their money. They will spend money buying a house or paying rent, a car, a holiday, on school fees but will never give you hard cash. True?

My Human Opinion

In my (very) human opinion (IMHO), this was a disguised attack on men from a certain community; who are know for amassing wealth (by any means) and thereafter being very mean with it (the wealth that is). They are also notorious for their lack of romance (read, their lack of generosity with their wealth).


It may be true that some rich Kenyan men, especially the older generation, are known for their 'stinginess', yes, in quotes. These men grew up in the colonial times and were well acquainted with adversity. Cash was not a plentiful commodity. So, in their minds, money had to be protected, come what may, Even when they made lot's of cash, it's like they were afraid—no—terrified of loosing it.

A house, they can see and touch. A car, they can see and touch. A holiday, okay, but chances are they came along with you and had fun, or stayed home, and had fun.

But when they give you money—hard (or maybe not so hard) earned shillingis, they see money walking away, literally.

Oh, and there's this saying, "Like father, like son." So it would not be a surprise if these miser-like tendencies were passed on from father to son. But this is just my opinion.

My Biblical Opinion

The Bible talks a lot about money. In fact some of these topics have been discussed here. In simple terms, the Bible differentiates between a rich man—not good and a man who is rich—not bad.

A rich man defines and identifies himself by his riches, whereas a man who is rich is just a man, who is rich.

As to whether rich Kenyan men are stingy, the Bible does offer insight on the psyche of many rich men.
It's now parable time.
Luke 12:13-21
The Parable of the Rich Fool
 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  14 Jesus replied, Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.
 16 And he told them this parable: The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
   18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
   20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?
   21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.
As you amass that wealth, ask yourself what God asked the rich falla; "...Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?"
Luke 16:19-25

The Rich Man and Lazarus
    19There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.    22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
   25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
The rich man was too hard-hearted to help poor Lazarus.

You knew this one was coming:
Luke 18:18-30

The Rich and the Kingdom of God
 18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”    19Why do you call me good? Jesus answered. No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’
 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
 26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
 27 Jesus replied, What is impossible with man is possible with God.
 28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
   29Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.

 A rich man would not have sold all that he had, whereas a man who is rich would have. And on that note, a final command, that differentiates a rich man and a man who is rich.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hm, Kenyan men can be stingy but I don't blame them for it. Kenyan women have given them reason to with their gold digging ways. If a man seems to attract women when he's flaunting his wealth, he thinks twice about the next one. Besides, why spend so much money on her when she clearly has her own? Unless she's your wife or mistress, you're not obligated to spoil her in any way.