It has been said that a person learns more when they teach others. Personally, I have found this to be true in the last month on Sunday nights with the senior high group. We have been talking about being good stewards of all that God has given us (money, spiritual gifts, talents, and experiences), and in my preparation, I have been challenged in my own stewardship.
I came across a book entitled Getting By on $100,000 a Year. The humor of that title probably had more of an affect back in 1981, the year it was published, in which $100,000 was more like $250,000 in today’s economy. But still, I’m sure there are a lot of people today who, like myself, would like to try to get by with $250K a year! Just the thought of the possibility of such income lends one to wonder what could be done each year with that money–but isn’t that the tendency of everyone?
“What if I won the lottery” or “What if some unknown great uncle dies and leaves me a fortune?” Ever fancied such a thought and then go right into, ” I could pay off that debt, go on that vacation, build that deck or finish that basement, buy that car or buy that boat, go to that school or just live off the interest of the investment?” I’ll be honest and admit to thinking such thoughts. That seems to be a natural human tendency and an infallible human rule; spending expands to fill the income.
If you make more, you buy more, and the things you buy have to be stored and repaired and insured. And most of the time, no thought is given to it. I know I don’t give any time thinking about world cruises and $50,000 cars, but if I made $250,000 a year, pretty soon things like that wouldn’t seem any more strange to me than all the stuff I buy now–because I could afford it. If this is true–if expenses almost inevitably expand to fill the income–how do we keep ourselves from accumulating more and more stuff and more and more expensive stuff?
I believe that a man by the name of Chuck Feeney is on to the secret. He wears a $15 watch and does not own a house or a car, but few people would suspect that he has secretly donated more than $4 billion through a charitable organization he founded (Atlantic Philanthropies). He was so secretive that his own business partner was not aware of the generosity he would leave. Chuck’s charity operated on one main rule: that no one was ever to know his name. In his biography, The Billionaire Who Wasn’t, Mr. Feeney said, “I had one idea that never changed in my mind—that you should use your wealth to help people.”
I am nowhere near where I should be when it comes to giving, but I know that this is the direction that I want to go. I may not have much to give (especially not $4 billion) but I do want to grow in this area and I pray that the Lord will help me to learn to experience the joy that comes from giving.
25 A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Director of Student Ministries