Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Spirit of Giving

I've never been famous, but I have had the opportunity to observe growing fortunes and draw some conclusions:

Wealth accentuates a person's weaknesses -- I know many say that money changes people, and that's true, but not to the degree that I think people believe it's true. But wealth does accentuate a person's core weakness: money is the tool that allows them to give in to their selfishness, misplaced ambitions, idiosyncrasies, (it also allows the opportunity to highlight their strengths…but who pays attention to that. ;0 ).

Which brings up point 2: Nobody cares what the poor man does. If he is condescending and rude we chalk it up to personality flaws and dismiss him, but it's hard to dismiss a wealthy person. By virtue of their fortune we give them our attention. Yet though they have our attention, our attitude toward them changes as their wealth increases. And this was the most surprising observation I made.

Point 3: The perceived wealth of one individual changed the attitude of the surrounding friends before it wrought change upon the wealth holder. The rich person's intimidating zip code ended friendships without any other instigation, his good suggestions were tolerated (whereas before they'd been eagerly considered), and the financial help offered was received with a sense of "entitlement". People were no longer as grateful for his kindness...because many believe that a gift from a wealthy person doesn't really cost the giver that much.

This last point is worth dwelling on as we enter the Christmas season: "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."(Emphasis, mine.) And even though God owns the cattle on every hill, the gift of His son cost the Giver more than we will ever understand.

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