When we lack certain things, the joy of living is diminished. In some cases we may become severely distressed or even incapacitated by such lack. When we are sick, in other words, when we lack good health, it is not a happy situation and we do all we can to regain our health. When someone is poor, that is, when they lack money and material possessions, life is not very enjoyable. Such a person is not able to live the way they wish or do the things they want. Poverty oppresses and incapacitates. As individuals and as nations, we all are desirous to distance ourselves from poverty.
Likewise, life is not so full and joyful when we fail to find happiness and fulfillment in relationships and in our work. (By relationships, I mean relationship with God and with our fellow human beings). The deep desires we have to commune with deity and to love and be loved by others are emotional needs we are born with. And so we find that human beings experience want in three identifiable areas. Life requires us to cope with physical, material and spiritual wants.
The saying, "health is wealth" implies that someone in good health can be said to have physical wealth. When a person has a lot of money and material possessions we describe them as being materially wealthy. In the same vein, when someone finds happiness and fulfillment in relationships and in their work, they can be said to possess spiritual wealth. And this brings us to the concept of total wealth. It comprises all three kinds of wealth. To have total wealth is to be completely free from physical, material and spiritual lack. This is the holistic model of success. A person is truly wealthy only when they have gained total wealth.
In general, people tend to be primarily concerned with their material wellbeing. And so they focus on striving for material wealth. But thanks to the American fitness buff, Jane Fonda and others like her. They helped to popularize the "keep fit" trend. There is now an awareness of the health risks inherent in the sedentary life style engendered by technological advancement. These days, being healthy is not just about being free from sickness. One has to be physically fit. Lots of people are now adopting the proactive approach of exercising regularly to maintain good health and keep fit. Many have realized the need to actively pursue wealth of the physical kind.
However, acquiring spiritual wealth is one goal most people cannot be said to be striving hard to attain. And to think that this ought to be our first priority. When someone gains spiritual wealth, they are guaranteed to also gain material and physical wealth. If you have any reservations about this assertion, then listen to the wise counsel of one of the world’s great spiritual luminaries, Jesus Christ of Nazareth:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (The Bible, Mathew 6:25-33).
But what is there to lose if someone chooses not to bother with the pursuit of spiritual wealth? The answer to this question can be found by taking a close look at the lives of some prominent individuals.