Have you ever sat down and really thought about the purpose of money? What are we supposed to do with it? The world tells us our money is ours to do with it as we please. While we do have free will to make choices, our life will be judged and our legacy will be defined by those choices. At the point of death, it won’t matter how much money you accumulated. It will matter how you used it and how you impacted others with the time you had.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
I recently attended a gala in downtown Atlanta. It was a beautiful evening of learning about how a particular organization is helping to develop youth within the greater Atlanta area. What really struck me was when a local philanthropist spoke about how our children will remember us for our sacrifices rather than our achievements. Think about that for a minute. Our society puts such an emphasis on achievement. While achievement can be good, our children will remember and cherish us for the sacrifices we made for them and others—not because of how much money we made, businesses we built, or awards we won.
When we give our time, talent, or treasure, we’re making a sacrifice for the good of others. While all three ways of giving are good, I’m going to focus on the giving of our treasure. This brings to mind words such as charitable giving and philanthropy. The word “philanthropy” in its purest form means love of humanity. “Philos” means love and “Anthropos” means mankind or humanity. A philanthropist is someone who acts or sacrifices out of love for mankind. By sacrificing for the benefit of others, philanthropists grow in virtue—assuming their motivations are pure and not for personal gain or recognition. Doesn’t it feel good to grow in virtue when you put others before yourself? An example is when you give a gift for the first time in your life instead of receiving one, and you discover the joy of giving. As a father, it has been incredible to see the excitement in my children shift from receiving gifts to wanting to give them.
“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”
We work with a number of families blessed with financial resources beyond their needs who want to have an impact on others, whether it’s family or charitable causes important to them. The questions we commonly hear are:
- How much can I afford to give?
- I know I want to give, but to where?
- What’s the best way to give?
We will address these points in a Part II next month. For now, just enjoy the excitement of potentially giving if it’s something you are considering. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just getting by or have more money than you’ll ever need. Anyone can give something and what we sacrifice with love will be remembered.
“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”
SAINT (MOTHER) TERESA
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