We must understand the word, wealth. The dictionary defines the word, wealth, as the state of having plenty of money or possessions. Ok, what does plenty mean? An adequate or more than adequate amount. Would you say that you are wealthy? Probably not. Would you say that you have an adequate amount to get by on? Probably so.
What does share mean? The Encarta dictionary says as a verb it means: to use something along with others, let somebody use something, take responsibility together or to divide something equally between people. As a noun it means a reasonable or appropriate portion.
Share the wealth. What does this phrase mean to you? Does it conjure up visions of free money given away by a faceless person with government written across their forehead? Do you see a modern day Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor?
To see the real person behind the words, look in the mirror.
In the broadest sense, we share our wealth daily. Every time you buy American made goods, you support the infrastructure that is America. You share your wealth with the workers that made the goods, the distributer, the marketer and the store that sold them. When you pay your city and county taxes, that money goes into the community fund that builds roads, pays the elected officials, and supports your city. We share our wealth in the form of taxes that pay financial aid to millions of underprivileged Americans and non-citizens. In truth, there are hundreds of ways we “share the wealth”.
On a more personal scale, we share the wealth with our family. Every day, millions of Americans crawl out of bed, get dressed and go to work. Many of them don’t enjoy this ritual, but they do it anyway. They know they must. It is their right and responsibility to share the wealth that they work for with their family, who in turn shares with the rest of the world.
What if those same people woke up this morning and suddenly said, “It’s my money, I worked hard for it and I’m not going to share it any more”? In a very short time, the whole infrastructure would begin to break down. Little Johnny wouldn’t be able to eat lunch because he didn’t get any lunch money. The school cafeteria would close because it didn’t get the funds to pay for the lunches. The suppliers would stop delivering and the farmers would stop growing crops and so on.
The point I’m trying to make is that sharing the wealth is a personal choice; a personal choice that can affect many people. Each of us has a modicum of wealth to share. It’s not important if you are rich or poor. What’s important is how you share. Call it your personal responsibility.
The holiday season is rapidly approaching. This year, with the uncertain economy and high percentage of unemployment, will leave countless families facing financial challenges. There will be many chances to make a difference in someone else’s life.
How will you let someone use a part of your adequate amount so that others can have a reasonable or appropriate portion?
You can keep your money close to home. Maybe you have a relative or good friend that is struggling. How can you best help them and not overextend yourself? You can share a homemade meal or a sack of groceries. You could offer a ride or fill a gas tank. You could winterize a home or pay a utility bill.
You can share the wealth with your community. Most towns have programs that help their less fortunate citizens. Many churches have donation centers for non-perishable food and warm clothing.
The next time you look in the mirror, realize that you are the person who can share the wealth. You have a choice. Don’t leave it up to a nameless government entity.