If Only I Were… – Religion and Politics

I wonder how many older people, when they were younger, did not have the thought, “If I were rich, the world would be a better place.” I’m not saying that’s exactly what they would have thought; nor am I telling you that’s exactly what I thought. What I am  saying is that just about everybody has thoughts of this type when they’re younger. I pick on this particular idea for a reason that often causes me to begin a blog post—someone I know wrote or shared something that basically echoed an old sentiment long gone from my mind in its original form.

I’m going to take the time to address this idea, not for this idea alone, but because it’s pretty exceptional in demonstrating the “folly of youth” through which most everyone passes—myself assuredly included.

I can distinctly remember thinking how I could (and, of course would) make the world a better place were I just wealthy. That was a good place to start but not a good place to stay. To begin with, unless one has the mindset to get and stay well-off, the chances one will become or remain so are rather low. I’m not saying that I could never be or continue to be “rich,” but I am saying that doing so without a perspective that continually seeks wealth is not highly likely.

What that means “out of the gate,” is that, my desires aside, unless I gain control of someone else’s resources or acquire the correct mindset, I will never put my, “If I were only…” plan into action.

But let’s dream for just a moment. Let’s assume that I somehow managed to get wealthy, and we’ll even go to the place where I stayed that way. Obviously, the level of opulence matters. If I were but a millionaire, my ability to change outcomes would be much more limited than if I were, say, a billionaire. Keep in mind that the average retirement planner will tell you that you should have at least million dollars to retire comfortably. So if I became a millionaire, would I just go ahead and help people, or would I seek to become a billionaire where I could help so many more?

What this leads to, is the idea that helping people is not really dependent on what you have. You can help folks when you have next to nothing (In fact, this is a long established idea, so much so that it’s found in the Bible).

But here’s the kicker. Let’s say I end up with enough substance that I never have to worry about money again (a pipe dream, by the way, since things outside one’s control can cause fortunes to dwindle to oblivion without constant care). Now I start to give to and help, those I see as being “in need.”

Firstly, there are those I don’t see. Those never get my help unless I seek them out or they come to me (not highly likely).

Secondly, the decision regarding who needs help, now rides (to the degree that I choose to help them or not) on my shoulders. If my perspective regarding those needing help is “broken,” so also will my actions be. The result is, inasmuch as I am the one choosing where my substance ends up, what will “make that choice” is my viewpoint on what “neediness” looks like.

To add to this pile, many people hold that the rich are the reason the poor are poor (a fallacy, but worth addressing). If only the rich didn’t hoard their resources, the poor would be “taken care of.” This is, of course, not true. Why? Because as a rule, unlike what folks assume, the rich did not get where they are by robbing the poor. In fact, if they did anything, it was to try to help others while they amassed that which they had.

They paid people (a thing they didn’t have to do, they could have stayed poor as well) to work for them, and help them to accomplish wealth. And those people got something out of the process. Maybe they didn’t get everything they ever desired, but funnily, the wealthy person probably never got that either. The truth is though, rich folks seldom ever get there alone.

If you look at a corporation like Microsoft, you realize that it has produced multiple rich folks, even more well-off folks, and even more who were at least content with what they ended up with as a result of working for Microsoft.

On top of this, that corporation produced at least one billionaire who has created multiple vehicles designed to help needy folks.

Funny thing is, with all of those folks with resources trying to help others to “not be in need,” most of the time, the best they accomplish is temporary aid.

There are so many “old sayings” out there and many of them sound wonderful, but one of my all time favorites is, “If you give a person a fish, you feed that person for a day, if you teach them how to fish, you feed that person for a lifetime.”

The first important point is, this expression has little to do with fishing, and much more to do with helping people to not need the resources of others so much to survive. That’s not to keep people from “taking what is mine,” you understand. Rather it’s to make it so when I have not, or am no longer around, they can continue to survive regardless my ability or existence.

The simple reality is, the more we count on others to survive or be healthy and happy, the less chance there is that we will remain that way!

I’m not saying that one ought not participate in society. Nor am I saying one ought not help those “less fortunate” (a very temporal idea, by the way). Rather, I’m saying, “Maybe only a small part of help is giving somebody something right now.” Perhaps a more important thing, is to help people to understand that, unless they develop the needed “survival skills,” they will continue to be dependent on others for their survival.

Okay, out of time and over my word count—never out of things to say! May your time be good and thanks for reading.

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