Well our annual corporate humanitarian drive has just completed and I’m sad to hear that overall giving is down. I completely understand the “why” as the economy has many of us scared and some depressed. It is interesting though that economic depression does not equate to a slow down for being a generous person. There is history out there that shows some of past depressions have been powerful times for people to reach deep inside and look to exercise one of life’s greatest privileges. . .love. We talk a lot about balanced living these days and the importance of diet and exercise, but does anyone discuss the importance of also exercising the heart, yes I’m asking the question about whether or not we allow ourselves the privilege of love. Now I am of the opinion as they state on the airplane safety talk, “in the event of an emergency, please place the mask first on yourself, before you go to help someone else”, so we must all be most cautious to not be so caught up in loving others that we forget to nurture ourselves. It’s always a tragedy to have stolen from this world beautiful souls who got so overloaded with caring they washed themselves out and have ended their awesome tradition of caring.
I doubt many of us know such abandon as to love so entirely that we lose ourselves in the process. My focus here is more of “are you doing the basics?” I was charged with a small group of my peers inside my corporate to reach out and encourage this year to get involved in our charitable campaign. As the trend went this year, less than half my group made a commitment. I suspect again the economic uncertainty has kept people away this year and that is sad to say a loss, not of money alone but of the joy of making a difference in our small world.
I am far from supporting the idea of socialism, and I can be that way as I choose to find ways to see that not all of my earnings are held for my personal use. This is how life should in fact operate, that each of us sees the importance of reaching beyond our four walls and lifting the hands of others. I find practical ways to accomplish this, as example, I don’t just pay the entrance fees at museums, I join the membership roles of a museum as to say, “hey this is so great, keep this alive, and let others in less fortunate positions come here at a lower price”. Quarterly, I look for an opportunity to reach out to a food bank and see that the bank is getting funds to help the hungry. You get the point here, I don’t wait for government or corporate management to tell me that I need to be involved with others. I find a way entirely on my own. Wow, thank you mom and dad for helping me understand the importance of thinking of more than just myself. That would be a small world.
Are You a Servant?
It was the early 70’s and I was a soloist in a beautiful church on the north shores of Chicago. I’ll never forget the Sunday the famed, J. Clement Stone came to talk about his awesome meteoric rise to be one of Chicago’s wealthiest men. He gave out his secret to success as he stated for the audience, “I’ve never let myself think of other people’s money as my own.” In other words, as a corporate steward, Mr. Stone adopted a special attitude in life to think that he was just to be a servant most excellent. Now that is quite a challenge yes? Can we begin to imagine how the world might be if top executives would only say to themselves, “Am I doing the right thing for others?” (after all the money I have access to is not mine, but a trust that has been put in my hands) A sad truth is that I’ve never been lectured in corporate halls about having such an attitude. I guess some would say that it’s a soft message. Others are intellectually honest as not to say this is the way things should be, when they themselves have not learned this fundamental practice. Why should one openly be a hypocrite? I do think Mr. Stone was on to a real truth about life, and one that could change our world enormously. Can you imagine the millions of dollars that we are now wasting to protect people from individuals who lack this fundamental attitude/belief/practice? No law will ever protect us from such evil, we have to be a force of good by adopting fundamental beliefs that push away selfishness and lack of vision. We are silly to think legislation can turn people into being charitable, this is simply not the truth, only personal belief and conviction can do that for us.
There is a saying in church circles that should be explored. . .”God loves a cheerful giver”. Life is not all duty, it should be a passion. The forefathers of America were passionate (cheerful) about their zest for freedom. They were so passionate they did not reckon loss of life to be a barrier to the pursuit of freedom. I hate to think of losing the privilege to be alive or having my sons be lost, but I also have an inexpressable gift to live in a land of freedom, as honorable men chose to lose their lives for freedom. Are we so fortunate as to hold life because men chose passion? May we also then know “thanksgiving” and “thanksliving” for those who are full of passion for freedom. May we find hands and hearts to hold others that need our gift of love, it is a basic human need. . to love and reach out to others.