by Dan Seagren
Posted: April 26, 2020
Pros, cons, and questions…
Editor's note: Dan wrote this article before the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect our daily lives. We have seen a roaring economy grind to a halt in a matter of weeks. Millions have lost jobs (some permanetnly, others with some hope of returning), businesses are closed and despite huge relief packages from the federal government, the impact on business and the job market will be substantial for some time. The tie with Dan's topic is the question,"is wealth just a measure of money?" Through the crisis we have seen examples of the wealth of human compassion and creativity rising in the face of staggering loss. Thus, can we rephrase the question as "what makes a person truly wealthy?"
Wealth is a relative substance. Some are wealthy in generosity while others are stingy though financially wealthy. In the past, lesser amounts determined wealth but currently not so, although the future has a mind if its own. Wealth is a relative thing and it can range widely from thousands of dollars to millions to billions for individuals, for institutions or governing bodies it can go higher. How long before we see individuals become trillionaires? And some are rich, not wealthy. Tough subject isn't it? Enough???
How one behaves if wealthy and what a wealthy individual does with their wealth is important—but perhaps not all-important. Here is where the pros and cons enter the equation (a mathematical statement) and become a practical (applicable) or a moral issue (humanitarian, honorable), or a matter of being selfish (self serving, ungenerous), or you name it.
No two wealthy persons or institutions are alike. Some deny their wealthiness while others desire more to be considered wealthy. Historically a wealthy individual generation ago could be considered a pauper (poor person) today while a wealthy person today might not be considered rich in a distant future. Wealth is not stagnant (does not stand still) as with a well-to-do father whose son is considered wealthy today.
Is it possible or likely that a wealthy individual or family denies their wealthiness? Could a wealthy employee be worth more than his boss? Could a child of wealthy parents be given priority in certain situations? Could wealthy politicians tip the scale of their political party? Could a wealthy person give to charity in order to gain notoriety? Could a wealthy investor get too greedy and lose it all? If a selfish and excessive desire for more money than is needed, motivated by naked ambition, is that a danger to be avoided?
Let us end on some of the pros of wealth. I for one am deeply impressed by what some are accomplishing beyond the call of duty to reducing poverty, healing the wounded and ill, providing schooling for the unschooled, supplying clean water—all with a genuine, humble sense of generosity and compassion. Wealth that includes charitable giving, lifting the underdog, reducing trafficking, helping lift the downtrodden, the forgotten, the ill and ignorant, and discourages addiction should be highly recognized. Add to these virtues and if wealthy by any measure, give it your undivided attention.
Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.• E-mail the author (su.nergaesnad@brabnad*) • Author's website (personal or primary**)
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