To save the world

"Saints Peter and John healing the lame man" by Nicolas Poussin, 1655. Image shared online by the Metropolitan Museum of Art,

“Saints Peter and John healing the lame man” by Nicolas Poussin, 1655.
Image shared online by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

“I have never met anyone who wanted to save the world without my financial support.”
Robert Brault

OK, it’s comic relief time here at Defeat Despair, and what better time than election season to take note of the fact that even when our other gifts go unwanted and unrecognized, there is always someone who will appreciate whatever money we can come up with.

Have you noticed our tendency to assume it takes gobs of money to make any sort of big or meaningful change in the world?  Sometimes I think looking for solutions in wealth (usually someone else’s wealth) is just another way of letting ourselves off the hook for NOT doing the little everyday things that can make a huge cumulative difference.  We might not be able to save the world with a smile or a kind word or a small act of compassion that few will ever know about. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing these things anyway.

There’s a wonderful story in the Bible, the book of Acts, chapter 3, in which a man who had been unable to walk from birth asks Peter and John for money. Peter tells him, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” For the first time ever, the man was suddenly able to do just that. He had asked for money, but got something far better. Maybe there’s a lesson here for us. Maybe more than one lesson.

It’s easy to assume that money would solve most of our problems, and it definitely comes in handy in a great many situations. Moreover, it’s far too natural an impulse to want to hang onto whatever we get, and not share it, dreading some unforeseen future crisis. Yet it’s not wise to trust in money as a defense against disaster. So the point isn’t that we don’t need to give financially; I’m convinced that we do, for many reasons, among which is for our own psychological and spiritual benefit.

But how often do we seek money when what we really need is something that no amount of money could ever buy?  How many times have we gotten what we really needed, not what we thought we wanted?  Do we ever “sell out” for financial gain, only to find that we have bartered away something priceless for something ephemeral, even worthless?

There are a great many worthy and unworthy people and organizations who “want to save the world” with our financial support. Sometimes it will be a good thing to give it. But give wisely, and don’t let it discourage you if you don’t have money to give. Maybe what you do have to give is worth more than anything that could be bought.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

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