I am well aware that coveting is a big no-no. I get it. Truly.
But who wouldn’t want a smidge of the wealth that Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have at their disposal? Can you imagine the impact that amount of wealth can have?
Well, actually, you needn’t imagine. The Gates’s have made it very public to where their oodles of scratch will be allocated. In 1993, they formed (at least theoretically) the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. After a trip to Africa, they decided philanthropy would be their legacy.
I very much enjoyed the 20-minute or so Ted Talk.
That being said, I noticed a couple of word choices I would like to address.
Ridiculous generosity need not be from a place of “giving back”.
“Giving back” has the connotation of taking something from someone else. Did Bill Gates make you purchase the bevy of Microsoft products available? Of course not. I am not of the opinion that he need to give back anything.
Because he hasn’t taken anything.
Is this a semantic argument? Perhaps, but the point remains the words we choose carry power and weight. Much like using “his” debt or “her” debt inside of a relationship has power (the pronoun “our” comes from a much stronger relationship vantage point). I love the extravagant heart that both Bill and Melinda Gates have for the world’s less fortunate. Obviously, they are uniquely placed by hard work and a position of wealth not know by 99.99% of the rest of the population, but it is from that position they can impact the world in ways that may not be realized for generations.
Ridiculous generosity need not be the sole calling of the über-wealthy.
Because Katie and I are debt-free, we have the ability to give more than we have ever previously known. We have a line item in our budget entitled “Ridiculous Generosity”. While we don’t fund it to Gates-like levels, we still have causes and issues near and dear to our hearts. Some months we are able to allocate more to that line item than others.
Regardless of your level of wealth, giving changes your spirit. We are called to be good stewards repeatedly in the Bible. That is why our tithe and giving is at the top of our budget and why we encourage our clients to do the same…even while they’re getting out of debt.
Although I disagree with Bill Gates’ last statement regarding the “just” nature of taking from the wealthy and redistributing it to the less fortunate, I appreciate both his and Melinda’s desire to be generous at a level that literally has the capacity to change the world.