Philanthropy and Having Enough Money

I once told a friend I would like to be able to give enough money to be called a philanthropist. I had only seen that word applied to people who were wealthy and generous. My friend told me I was already a philanthropist. That made me think about what is the actual meaning of the term. Philanthropy is not about an amount of money; it is an attitude that seeks the betterment of mankind. One can give no money but spend time volunteering in some way to relieve suffering, help disadvantaged children, or feed the hungry and those activities would make him a philanthropist.

I have often said that having enough money is not about an amount. Some people will never have enough. Beyond meeting basic needs, having enough money is about our attitude toward money and what brings us peace. But I had made the same mistake in thinking that giving a lot of money would make me a philanthropist. One can be wealthy and not be  a philanthropist and one can be poor and be a philanthropist. I will donate a lot of money if my novel sells well, but my desire to write it to help women who suffer after having abortions is what makes me a philanthropist.

As often happens with quoting the Bible, sometimes we get it wrong. I have heard people say that money is the root of all evil, but the Bible does not say that; it says that the love of money is the root of all evil. Again, it is about an attitude not an amount of money. So let’s all be philanthropists, both rich and poor alike. We don’t need money; we need to love mankind and be committed to its betterment. Next to loving God first, according to Jesus, loving our neighbor is the second most important commandment.

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