263 – Demonstrate Money Liberally

We must work for whatever we have, otherwise we will not understand what we have and thereby get ourselves into trouble. Few things harm the poor like unearned money dolled out. To a money-savvy society, even the poor will not accept a handout because they don’t want to shortchange their “money skills”, which improve only by working to earn their keep. Their choice is part of dignity, another reason why the wise poor man will not accept handouts.

There is no folly in being poor, only in seeking results greater than one’s own work. This seems cold-hearted to people who do not understand money. It also seems like a lame excuse to not give away money. But, there are other ways to be charitable and show liberality of the “Noble Habitus”. One example is God’s command in Deuteronomy to exercise liberality with debt and when harvesting crops. Food and clothing are another way.

Business opportunities are another opportunity for charity. Say you know a poor man. Consider giving him a business plan that is very difficult for him to fail with if he merely shows up and works. Embed in it a chance to help him grow his own money as a business owner, using money you might otherwise donate to charity. “Risking” money with him could tip dominoes to help many more people—all because one are of neglected poverty is “money smarts”. Give him the opportunity to observe money as it moves through accounts, teaching only by example how money works—no lecturing. If he fails, you can forgive him and the interaction with you might have demonstrated more shrewd godliness than he had opportunity to learn elsewhere.

Financial poverty is often but a symptom of other types of poverty, including healthy rants around the dinner table where the wise, strong-minded, wealthy leaders teach virtues unknowable through public education. Take a few disadvantaged youth golfing, buy them the proper attire in the name of “proper dress”; give it to them “because you don’t fit his size”; demonstrate liberality while others saves face. Walking and swinging on the fairway, they may rub shoulders with people they might otherwise never get close enough to smell.