I was watching SNL back in November, and, for those that are still up, glued to the boob tube after the final musical guest performance, you may have caught a show called “Your Move, with Andy Stanley”. It’s religion based, but not. It’s more religious overtones, so you’re not bombarded with anything in your face. Even if you’re an Atheist, or an Agnostic, it speaks to you.
This particular night, he was doing a segment on money, that sadly, I found to ring very true. But, I guess that was the point, right. So, his question was something to the effect of, “How much money would you need, to have enough to ensure the security of yourself, your family, and your future generations?”. And, then he gave the answer, that as it would turn out, applies to almost everybody in the world. Think about it for a second. What would your answer have been? Wanna guess what his was? Ok, fine, I’ll tell you. It was “More than I currently have”. Does that sound about right?
He stated that when people were asked how much money they would need to consider themselves rich, that it was up at $5million. So, these people didn’t think that $1mil., or, $2mil, in their pockets, made them rich. How crazy is that?!?
He explained, that the more money someone starts to amass, the more their open palm turns into a closed fist. As they become afraid of losing the “security” that their wealth would provide them in the future. So, they close their fists (to indicate “mine”) out of fear.
Then, he went on to explain how much more generous people of lesser means were. Because, they didn’t put their faith in the fact that if they closed up their fist, and hoarded that $9.17, that someday they could have a nest egg that would provide them with the “security” that only the “rich“ could afford. They just relinquished themselves to the fact that, given their menial income, that they would never be able to save enough to be “rich”, let alone offer themselves, their family, or their future generations, the “security” that the hoarders (that made 2-3-10x’s more money) were afforded. And, thus, their palm was always open to help others.
Weird isn’t it? But, think about it for a second. At Christmas, you hear stories about Secret Santa’s, who show up at K Mart, or, Wal-Mart, and pay off people’s layaway purchases. Do you think those people got there in a Ford Festiva, with a license plate frame that says, “my other car is a Rolls Royce”? And, it really is!! Hell no! But, they very well could’ve pulled up in a Ford Festiva. I highly doubt that anyone reading this, has ever seen a $75k+ car in the parking lot of ANY discount store.
So, now let’s ponder those people that participate in “Paying It Forward”. Ya think that those people that are eating at the $100/per plate joints are leaving strict instructions to the wait staff/Management, to “Take this cc#/cash, and, use it to pay for the next patron that places an order.”? I heard somebody say “Hell no”!! And, with that answer, you get a prize, because you’re absolutely right!! They can sure as shootin’ afford it more than someone hitting the drive thru at Mickey D’s, or Starbucks, who had the anonymous Do-Gooder in the car in front of them pay for their order. Then, more often than not, that same beneficiary, pays it forward to the next guy. What a beautiful thing. And, again, when was the last time, if ever, you saw a $75k+ car ordering off the Dollar Menu?
I’m not saying that some people of “wealth” aren’t generous, but, the question for me is, are they generous because their gut, heart, and conscience are speaking to them. Or, are they generous, because they can’t afford not to be. When your reason for “helping” others, is because you get to keep more of your money, after writing your “generosity” off on your taxes, then SHAME ON YOU! The people that you look down on, are giving what can’t be afforded. These are people that very well could be robbing from Peter, to help a fellow human being. These are people that check their account balance before helping. Not to confirm how little they can’t help, but, in-fact, how much they can. Their generosity can’t be written off on their taxes, even if they make enough money to file taxes. They do it, simply to help another person, another human being, that is in a worse position than they currently find themselves. They understand, that offering a little bit of help, even to a lot of people, may hurt them a little, but, it’s certainly not going to kill them.
These are the people that I want to be associated with, and privileged enough to know. The ones that give from their heart, regardless the cost to their own financial “security”. The ones that give, in spite of the fact that no one is looking. The ones that give, even when it hurts. These people understand Christianity.
Me personally, I like to buy pies for people in line at the grocery store during the holiday season. I‘ve filled 2 shopping carts with food, and given them to the boy scouts standing in front of the store with their father’s, and walked off with nothing more than the 12pack of soda that I was there to purchase. I’ve stopped my car to give someone my umbrella, while they stood in the rain, waiting on their bus. I’ve opened my home to a man that had been homeless for 8yrs prior to moving in with me. To have a generous heart, doesn’t require that you be “rich”. In fact, it doesn’t even require that you have a pulse, if you’re an organ donor.
For those who are fortunate enough to have more, remember, you can’t take it with you. And, as Andy Stanley so justly put it, when you’re on your death bed, regardless of your current religious belief, it’s going to be God that you look to for “security”, and all the money in the world can’t buy you that. Well, he said something like that. Whatever it was, it was very profound, believe me. Or, not, and check it out yourself.
I found a wonderful quote a long time ago by Desire Joseph-Mercier, that speaks to my heart:
Charity-we must not only give what we have, we must also give what we are.
And, with that, I’d just like to remind people, that to be a kind, compassionate, and generous person, you don’t necessarily have to open your wallet. You just need to have a heart.