Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Show Me the Money

Two themes came together, early this Sunday morning in Pensacola, first, as Father Harry spoke to us at Christ Church this morning on stewardship, and giving generously, and then later, as I was reading my Sunday Pensacola News Journal, an article on our elected officials, and their finances, their net worth and where their money is coming from.

Father Harry spoke about the rich man, at whose gate Lazarus begs, covered with sores, and then, at death, how the rich man asks God to send Lazarus to wet his lips, as he burns in the eternal hellfires, and Lazarus sits with God. He also asks God to send Lazarus to warn his rich family members that their choices, their lack of generosity, will have consequences, but God says (I paraphrase here) that Moses already told them, and earlier prophets, and that if the rich didn’t listen to them, they are not going to listen to Lazarus.

To me, it seems a given, that if you are blessed with plenty, then you have an obligation to help those who struggle. It isn’t necessarily money, it can be food, it can be time, it can be expertise, or – in my case – it can even be fabric. 🙂 We learn it in pre-school and kindergarten, don’t we? Share what you have, and everyone gets along.

It totally boggles my mind that many of our good friends, government and military people, have excellent health care under a highly socialized system – that’s what the military health care system is all about, we all have access to the same treatment. Many of the people who have access to medical treatment become rabid about supporting health care for those who don’t. Part of it seems to be “I earned it, and those lazy bums expect it for nothing.”

Most of my life, I’ve worked with ‘those lazy bums’ and have grown to have a lot of understanding and compassion for the circumstances that can make an entire family bone poor. Sometimes, it is poor choices – but how do people learn to make better choices without help? How do people aspire to more when they think that the ‘more’ is inaccessible to them?

The face of our nation changed after World War II when many more Americans gained access to higher education as a veteran’s benefit; prior to the GI Bill, higher education was only available to those comfortable people who could afford it.

Also in today’s Pensacola News Journal is an article about Study: Educating Women Saves Millions of Children which is an Associated Press Story about a study published this month in Lancet. “Educated women tend to use health services more and often make better choices on hygiene, nutrition and parenting,” the study (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) concludes.

And last, in the Pensacola News Journal, is an article that makes my heart sing, that makes me proud to live in a democracy, the article about how much our elected officials are worth, and where there money is coming from. I love it that we hold our leaders accountable, and that their wealth is (theoretically) transparent to us.

I’m a great advocate of wealth. I admire people who create wealth, who invest, who work hard for their money. The best of these people, and I mentioned Bill and Melinda Gates (above) for a reason, give back generously. Many people don’t start out rich, they start from little or nothing and build slowly slowly until they have reached a comfortable level. Sometimes, even in hard times, if you have built a strong foundation, that money just keeps multiplying, especially if it is invested with some diversity.

“It’s called the law of the harvest,” my Mormon friends told me when we were discussing how what you give comes back to you multiplied. It was so graphic, I’ve never forgotten it. There is nothing wrong with money. Money is just another tool, like a computer, or a hammer. It’s what you do with your money (tool) that makes the difference. Money is kind of like a seed, you plant and you harvest, but it is also like fertilizer – you spread it around, and amazing things happen.

Having money is a blessing, and giving it away is even more of a blessing. When you give, good things come back to you, multiplied. It’s the Law of the Harvest.

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September 26, 2010 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Charity, Civility, Community, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Florida, Fund Raising, Health Issues, Leadership, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Social Issues, Spiritual, Values | Leave a comment