Motivational speaker, trainer, and author Glenn Van Ekeren, illustrates the benefits of giving through the life of John D. Rockefeller.
Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil Company, was considered the wealthiest American of his time. Yet, it is said that by age 58 his life was a wreck. He worried that his success was temporary. Van Ekeren writes “He became sick physically, mentally and emotionally. There was no humor, balance, or joy in his life.
“Then a transformation occurred. He determined to become a giver rather than an accumulator. He began to give his millions away. He founded the Rockefeller Foundation, dedicated to fighting disease and ignorance around the world. He lived to be ninety-eight years old and was a happy man in those years because of his new and revitalized definition of success.”
While few people will ever enjoy the financial and business success of Rockefeller, we can all achieve the goal of being a benefit to others.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the noun benefit as “something that produces good or helpful results or effects or that promotes well-being.” As a verb it means “to be useful or profitable to.” “Benefit” partially shares a common etymology with the word “benevolence.” Both come from bene which means “good.” “Benefit” is combined with the Latin facere, “to do.”
To be a benefit to your friends, family, brethren and people in general is to do good. To render service. To be helpful. Useful. To make a difference.
In his book The Purpose Driver Life, Rick Warren reminds us, “You were put on earth to make a contribution.” “You weren’t created just to consume resources–to eat, breathe and take up space,” Warren adds. “God designed you to make a difference with your life…You were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it. God wants you to give something back.”
The difference we make is in direct proportion to the benefit we become to others. By sharing, serving, even sacrificing, we may benefit the hurting, the helpless, and the heart broken. Charles Dickens was spot on when he wrote, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
As a motivation to benefit others, remember the benevolence of God’s blessings toward us. The Psalmist powerfully expressed it this way.
Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation!
Think of that? Daily. Loads. Us. With. Benefits.
The Bible admonishes “those who are rich” to use their wealth to benefit others. To “do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (1 Tim. 6:18).
However, regardless of our net worth, all of us should heed Paul’s exhortation in Galatians 6:10. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” Gal. 6:10). In this vein Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu observed, “Life is an opportunity. Benefit from it.”
Benefitting others, of course, extends beyond sharing material resources or monetary giving. It involves our attitudes and actions. Even the very words we use in how we communicate can be beneficial or harmful.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29).
Are you unhappy with your life? It is possible that like Rockefeller you could change the course and impact of your life by being a benefit to others?
Winston Churchill was right when he wrote, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman