The Power of Generosity

Lee's Summit JournalOctober 16, 2013 

“If I’m clutching on to my money with both hands, how can I be free to hug my wife and children?”

Giving of your time, talent, and money can hurt; it can even become a painful sacrifice. Perhaps, you may have to forego a new cell phone or a few football tickets or maybe cut one day off your vacation plan. A serious discussion about generosity usually focuses on giving of money; almost every working day, you read letters from ordinary people who want to give money to assist those in need. Unfortunately, money is an indicator of our deepest motivations, it is more obvious in public perception than any other form of giving, where your money is, there is where your heart is.

Money brings stability and risk; it is part of the problem and part of the solution. One of the most informative ways to judge someone’s giving character is to watch where and how they spend their treasure. For most of us, learning a skill or a profession, showing up everyday and doing a good job, seems to be just enough for each of us to understand the difference between what I want and what I need. Sure, we are constantly bombarded that we need more, but we need to be sure we want it for the right reasons; there will always be someone reaching in your pockets.

What is your money number? How much will be enough for retirement? Where should I put it? When should I buy? When should I sell? Your money number messes with your head and heart, it makes you stay at that job, live in that place you really don’t like, and it seems to create problems between you and your family, it makes you cut short the things you’d really like to do with your time, it just makes you react.

It comes down to just three questions: What would you do if you had all the money you needed?

Yet, at your annual medical check-up; the doctor discovers a rare disease and calmly states your illness will became fatal in less than five years. Now for your second question: now that you know your life is on call, how will you live out your final years?

Your diagnosis worsens and the same doctor calls; a few months later, to say you actually have less than twenty four hours to live… now what would you do with all the money?

Would your thoughts go something like this; my family, my kids, my bucket list? What did I miss? What did I not get to be? What did I not get to do?

Usually, the first and second questions are answered with thoughts of being successful: your status and wealth, the long list of your achievements; How can I fill the last five years with material wants?

The third question always focuses on being significant; your generosity to others, those meaningful relationships; are you asking to make more money or are you coming to terms with who you really are…either way, you can die rich or die broke or you can leave laughing, that’s up to you.

Perhaps in several years, the headlines in the Journal will read: “$1 million will not be enough for a comfortable retirement.”


Bill Regan serves as a personal stewardship coach with Summit Pointe Consulting and is Director of Development for Coldwater as well as Executive Director of hopeyourselfUP, a Christian focused leadership program. Bill and his wife, Karen live in Greenwood and are proud parents of six children and eight wonderful grandchildren

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