the Third River

This story has propelled me to another level concerning business, provision, and the God of supply. The beginning of 2008, I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, which triggered necessary healing in my heart of perceptions about money and wealth. The beginning of 2009 this story has done the same thing but taking where I am to another level.

Reference: Wealth, Riches, and Money by Craig Hill and Earl Pitts, Chapter 9, pg 234

Title: Living on the Third River

While teaching in Africa once, the Lord gave me (Craig) a picture depicting the management of financial resource. I saw a huge snowfield in the mountains with virtually an infinite supply of water. There were three rivers emanating from this snowfield. On the first river, lives a man who experience of life is that he never quite has enough water. Life experiences taught him that. So, what does he do with the water coming down the river? He builds a dam in that river, and collects all the water that he possibly can in a lake behind his dam. This man’s view of water includes only that which is available to him in his lake. Therefore, he must conserve water, and he must be very careful, because there’s barely ever enough coming down for him.

Now, there’s the second river that flows down from the snowfield. The man who lives along this river has life experience that tells him there’s usually plenty of water for him, so there is no need to build a dam in the river. He decides to let the water just flow naturally, to use what he needs and let the rest flow down the river for others who live downstream to use. This man perceives that there is plenty of water in the river to meet his needs and plenty of water for the people who live downstream. So, he lives his life that way on the river, taking what he needs out of the river, and letting the rest flow downstream.

Then there is a third river and a man who also lives along this river. His experience of life is that there is so much water up there in the snowfield that one could never use all the water coming down the river. As a result of this understanding, this man has begun digging canals to outlying areas to help water the field of others who don’t live near a river. Each year he digs a few new canals out to his neighbors, who need water. In the next year, this man has a plan for another 3 canals. Then the following year, he’s hoping to dig 5 new canals that can go out even farther from this river. It seems that no matter how many canals he digs, he just keeps digging canals. As a matter of fact, this man is thinking all the time how he can hire some more men with more bulldozers to help dig canals faster to get water out to all these other farms that are from the river. This man’s experience of life is that he just can’t use up all that water.

Now suppose that you are the person in the snowfield who decides how much water to release into each river. Which river are you going to tend to put most of the water down? Probably number 3. How much are you going to release into river number 1? You will probably put enough down this to meet the need of that man who lives down there, because you love him and you want him to be taken care of. However, there’s no use for that water’s making a large lake on his property. It just becomes stagnant, like the Dead Sea. So, you put just enough water down there for the man to use it, and that’s all you are going to put in that one.

How much water would you put in the second river? You would probably send only enough water to meet the need of the people who live a long that river. However, there is not point sending huge amounts of water down the river, as it will be improperly used. The majority of the water will, of course, be sent down the third river, so that it will be utilized to bring the most benefit to the greatest number of people.

I have found that many non-Christians have a better sense of living along the third river than do Christians. I have found unbelievers who have learned to live with a closed circle (Budget)  and are really already living along the third river, while their Christian neighbors are still living along the first or second rivers, believing God for the “the wealth of the wicked to be transferred to the righteous.” I believe that from God’s perspective it may be easier to bring the unbelieving  living on the third river into the Kingdom than to get the Christian living on the first or second river to shift paradigms.

In reality, whatever water is flowing down your river right now is probably about the amount that God finds you faithful to manage. People who manage $100 million a year think differently from those who manage $100 thousand.  Therefore, in order to qualify ourselves to be managers over more of the Lord’s resource, we must learn to be faithful over what we have been given to manage now. The faster I learn to build canals and channel resources into the Kingdom, the faster I qualify myself to handle more resources. I believe that the Lord is simply looking for people with a credible track record, not people who are full of only good intentions of “what they will do when they have such and such resources.”


What river do you live on? Are you willing to take the steps to move to the Third River?

Am I faithful with what I have been given?


  1. Chris,
    I’d love to have your money expertise handy right about now. I’m not sure what you mean by the third river—it certainly sounds logical in the parable but I’m not sure I completely understand its implications or application but I’d like to find out more.
    btw, I also found Rich Dad, Poor Dad to be an incredible read but find it difficult to put its principles into practice.


    • Chef:

      Its so good to hear from you.

      I am finding the way we handle our finances has all to do with our paradigms of wealth and then our heart understand of the Father.

      The Third River is a place in our hearts where we say and know the Lord delights in blessing us. And if we take steps of faith into the world of entreprenuership by building businesses, employing people (bring water to them) and bringing investors with us (bringing water to them), the Lord sees this and begins to open the river flow (cash) to us because we are taking His kingdom of finances seriously with faith and stewardship.

      The Third River provokes us to say, “I need to do whatever it takes to begin thinking like a $100 million manager because I am not there yet and it’s because of how I think”. How I value my time, my resources, and my God needs to be things we put into question again. Our thinking ain’t right and we need to find out why.

      Rich Dad Poor Dad is an excellent book to shift the employee paradigm.

      Another book I suggest and recently read is Billionaire in Training by Brad Sugars. All his books are paradigm shifting.

      I agree the Rich Dad Poor Dad book is challenging, and that’s why not everyone around us is wealthy or even self-employed.
      You have be willing to take risks, study a lot, and trust the Lord.

      Love to talk more if you want.

      He is so faithful!

      Bless you!


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