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Bill Gates and Warren Buffett could be considered good examples of charitable givers and are receiving lots of press as they talk to others about their responsibility to do the same. How have you been inspired by the generosity of others?


Being inspired to be generous is good.  Some people might think Buffet and Gates give so much because they have so much and have to give for tax purposes.  I'm of the opinion that they have learned the joy of giving.  Want to increase joy in your life, then try being more generous.  Now this may sound as self-centered a reason as giving for tax purposes.  You give to receive something else.  But I've come to see that being rewarded for giving is the way God designed us in the first place.  Randy Alcorn has helped me see this.  And recently my pastor opened my eyes to the deeper meaning of Eccles 11:1, "Cast your bread upon the waters."  For most of my life I puzzled over that passage.  Why would anyone throw good bread in the water?  What a waste.  But my pastor suggested that casting bread upon waters is like sending your products or surplus by boat to other ports rather than keeping them for yourself.  Why do this?  Because you will be blessed and rewarded with what comes back (by boat).  I'll bet anything what came back was some good Dutch pastry (like the almond coffee cake that Van's Pastry makes--yummy!).  Nothing wrong with being rewarded for our generosity, especially when we give God thanks for sending back the reward.  Life is good when we are generous!  Thanks be to God!

I find myself more inspired by character than by actions.  Certainly, Gates and Buffett are generous, but knowing a bit about Gates' biography I feel less inspired by his character than by someone like Mother Teresa. 

This isn't to say that these two are not inspirational characters.  Particularly, Buffett was once the wealthiest man on earth, yet lived in the same small house that he bought in his 20's.  His treasure was truly not his riches.

I am not sure however if it is truly the best thing that motivates these people.  Perhaps they are motivated because they want to be remembered as generous people, or because they pridefully wanted to feel better than others.  It's hard to say for sure, and I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I feel much more certain about the character of Teresa.



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