The eye of the needle

The recent issue of Positive News contains an article on ‘The multimillionaire who gave his fortune away’. Daniel Garner was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but one day he realized that he was obese and unhappy. He gave away his money, moving from the ‘top of the top 1%’ to the ‘bottom 1%’, lost weight became part of a community and environment, and gained contentment. Some of his quotes are worth repeating:

“My life is [now] so much richer in every single way because I’m connected to life itself: to the people and to the environment around me… I’m truly alive.”

“It’s not just dollars that define wealth: it’s also power, linkages and the ability to make much more money. You end up forming a cohort of other extremely wealthy people and become tremendously disconnected from society.”

“When I was incredibly rich, my heart was completely closed to everyone around me. How can you maintain wealth when you see someone who’s starving and eating out of a garbage can…”

Yes there are so many stories we hear of rich and powerful people who exploit others and care little for those around them. Yet also, some extremely rich people find solace and connection through philanthropy that channels their riches to benefit others.

Eye_of_the_Needle_Black_Hills_1987
Eye of the Needle, South Dakota, US

No, I’m not writing this post to knock the rich, just to highlight that large amounts of money do not bring fulfilment, but do bring incredible responsibility for wise use of that money. After all, most of us in the West are rich by the standards of most developing countries. Are we using that richness wisely, and are we truly fulfilled?

Jesus once said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24, King James). He wasn’t joking.

Featured image courtesy Ron Clausen via Wikimedia Commons.

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