Who Really Built That, and How Much is Your Fair Share?

I can’t imagine there’s a single one of us who hasn’t heard the “you didn’t built that/yes I did” debate going on in so many heated political discussions (and if you haven’t- good for you).  In simplistic terms, one side argues that the assistance of government in building businesses is most important, and the other, that individualism and independence of the businessperson are the key.  Well, I think they’re both wrong.  While I agree we owe a debt of gratitude to those that have paved the way, and I know from personal experience how much work it takes to build a business, I don’t think either one of those should get all the credit.  From my point of view, we came into this world with nothing, and it’s by the grace of God that we have anything at all.  In my eyes, He built it.

Growing up, my dad often reminded us that we could have been born into any number of situations in this world, some better; many worse.  I did nothing to earn or deserve the loving parents I have, the peace we shared as a family, or having enough food to eat.  The fact that I grew up in a happy home was not because I was anything special, or because God loved me more than someone else.  It just was.  Any gifts, talents, or advantages I have all come from above.  I can’t take credit for them, but I can follow the example of my parents and strive to use them wisely and to the best of my ability.  Hard work is part of that stewardship, and I am also grateful for the stewardship of others that contributed to my growth.  But I believe that all of that comes ultimately from our Creator, and that’s who I credit.

So if I owe all the credit to God, what is a fair share to show my gratitude?  I’m not an economist so I can’t tell you how much a fair share of taxes would be, but I can tell you that my fair share in life should be to be grateful for what I have and to be generous and willing to share with those less fortunate around me and around the world through charitable giving, volunteering time, and opening my life.  What a much better place this would be if we all took that kind of fair share to heart and gave generously!  I know I have plenty of room to grow there.  No matter how much or how little we have, there is always someone we can bless- whether through dollars or kindness.

Of all the ways we can feel joy as human beings, I think the most profound joy comes from giving joy to another.

It’s easy to say be generous, I know, and not so easy to do.  The realities of life- paying bills, putting food on the table- can keep us holding on to what we have tightly, and quite understandably so.  Even those who have much can be hesitant to give up their security, with no tangible return on the investment.  In my personal experience though, I’ve never felt poor after giving, even those times when giving what little I had was a risk when taken in logical terms.  I can tell you from professional experience too, that I’ve seen people give way beyond what it looks like they should be able to, and yet somehow still have their needs met.  If you feel like these words are speaking to you to give more than you have been- give it a try and see what happens.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be spotlighting various charities that are doing good works in the community and could always use help.  I’ll start with some of my favorites:  Pocono Alliance‘s Bridges Out of Poverty program, the Salvation Army, Joey’s Eagles, and Daytop NJ.

Do you have a story about helping others?  I’d love to hear about it.  If you’d like to suggest a charity to spotlight, drop me a line below.  I welcome guest posts on your favorites as well.

And who knows?  Maybe if we all get into the giving act, we won’t need a government safety net after all.



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2 Responses to Who Really Built That, and How Much is Your Fair Share?

  1. joanne conley September 21, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem PA is a wonderful charity that helps the homeless with a soup kitchen and clothing – they provide reduced rent transitional housing for individuals and families who are working their way out of debt, and subsidized housing for permanently disabled individuals and families with mental handicaps and they operate a food pantry open to all in need. The organization is funded through the Lehigh Valley Council of Churches. They also give and find jobs for those who are able to work.
    I totally agree that if we all gave a little bit to help take care of our brothers and sisters, there would be less need tor government intervention.

  2. Erin Baehr, CFP® September 21, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Thanks Joanne! What a great variety of services to offer, and so needed. Looks like a fantastic organization from their website!

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