No. 307

The American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie once said, “Wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.” If I didn’t know better I would say that almost sounds like, “love thy neighbor as thyself.” While he started his working career very poor, earning $1.20 per week, over his lifetime it is reported that he gave away over 300 million dollars to worthy causes.
There is an unmistakable message in this man’s life that I wish more prosperous people would heed. In the final analysis it is not how much money or wealth a person accumulates but what he or she does with it that counts. I won’t call names because this person will have to live with the consequences, but I was appalled when I heard that the tax return of a wealthy national politician revealed that he gave only $400 to charity for an entire year. This is simply a case of “Where our treasure can be found is also where our heart is.” That really says something to me and I know it does to you, too.
There are many prosperous people who read my column, but most of you like myself, are not wealthy, at least in terms of piling up money. We do all have a heart and there is a story in the Bible that may be worth thinking about in this regard. This story can be found in Luke 12: 16-21 and these are the words of Jesus. “The land of a certain rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself saying, “What shall I do since I have no place to store my crops?” And he said, “This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” “But God said to him, You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared? So is the man who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” If you read my column very often you know that I am not a minister and I certainly don’t intend to try to preach here. How you conduct your own affairs is your business but there are principles and concepts that if understood and applied can help any of us live a happier and more rewarding life. When it comes to serving God and helping other people, many wealthy people who are busy building bigger barns, don’t think they have time to get involved.
A few weeks ago I got a letter from Retired State Senator Stanley Russ who lives here in our community and he sent me an article titled, “A Pint Jar Filled With Twelve Walnuts And Rice.” It begins, “This jar contains 12 walnuts and one cup of rice. The walnuts represent things God would have us do. The rice represents things we would like to do or are pressed to do. If we pour the rice into the jar first, the walnuts will never fit. If we put the nuts in first, the rice pours over and around them just fine. The lesson, of course, is that if we put God’s things first, we will have plenty of time for the rest. If we put things we want first, we will never fit time for God in our lives.” Thanks, Stanley, for sharing. There is a powerful message here that many people may just need to read and think about.
Now I would like to say how very much I appreciate your taking the time out of your busy day to read my column. My common sense tells me that we don’t agree on everything that I present here and I also realize that not every column speaks to you in a way that meets your needs at the time. However, my hearts desire is to help you and if I can pass along anything or say something that will help you in some way, I feel honored to have the opportunity. That’s all any of us deserve. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)