“In 2017, I had the privilege of traveling to South Sudan to do some Christian mission work at one of the largest refugee villages operated by Samaritan’s Purse. I saw poverty there that most people wouldn’t believe could exist in the twenty-first century—whole families surviving on a one-gallon jug of oil and a bag of rice per month. But I saw something else in that village: joy. I saw children scream with joy when I kicked a new soccer ball to them. I saw their entire faces light up over something as simple as a stick of gum. That trip was a sobering lesson that happiness and joy are a choice, and it’s a choice anyone can make regardless of the size of their bank account. It was also an unforgettable reminder that our wealth—no matter how much or how little we have—can be used to bring life-changing blessings to other people.
Happiness and joy are a choice, and it’s a choice anyone can make regardless of the size of their bank account.
Giving is a priority for nearly all the wealthy people I know. There’s a common stereotype of wealthy people acting like Scrooge McDuck, pinching every penny and diving into a pool of their own money. That doesn’t line up with my experience at all. Instead, the wealthiest people I know are usually the most generous people I know. They view their wealth as a responsibility and as a resource to be shared with their churches, communities, charities, and fellow man. The more they make, the more they give.
The great speaker and author Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Don’t miss that: the secret to having more is giving more. I believe that’s not only a financial principle, it’s also a spiritual principle. No, I’m not advocating some kind of prosperity gospel or a give-to-get mentality, but the truth is something happens in our hearts when we give. It causes us to take our eyes off ourselves and to see the world through someone else’s eyes. If “rich” really is a percep- tion of relative comfort and security, we must learn to get outside our own experience and understand what wealth means to other people. You could change someone’s life with a simple gift. Take the family I mentioned. Imagine they lived next door to you, and you were about to replace your minivan. What if, instead of selling your old van for a few thousand dollars, you simply gave it to your neighbors, no strings attached? Can you even imagine what that would do for them?
And think about what that would do for you. You’d have the unmatched joy and excitement of knowing you made a huge impact on someone’s life, and it really didn’t cost you anything at all. They’d feel rich having a second car, and you’d feel rich for being in a posi- tion to donate one. Giving away money or stuff also increases your gratitude for what you have. Seeing someone receive a gift like that makes it nearly impossible for you to take what you have for granted.”
From Who’s Eating Your Pie?, by Erik Weir