May 20, 2009
The Money Clouds Your Mind

Riding freights around the country many years ago, I ran across a man who told me, “If you’re ever hungry, boy, ask a poor man.” Good advice, and still good today:

America’s poor donate more, in percentage terms, than higher-income groups do, surveys of charitable giving show. What’s more, their generosity declines less in hard times than the generosity of richer givers does…

Indeed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest survey of consumer expenditure found that the poorest fifth of America’s households contributed an average of 4.3 percent of their incomes to charitable organizations in 2007. The richest fifth gave at less than half that rate, 2.1 percent…

Pastor Coletta Jones, who ministers to a largely low-income tithing congregation in southeast Washington, The Rock Christian Church, thinks that poor people give more because they ask for less for themselves.

“When you have just a little, you’re thankful for what you have,” Jones said, “but with every step you take up the ladder of success, the money clouds your mind and gets you into a state of never being satisfied.”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at May 20, 2009 08:51 AM
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At some point, the money stops being money. It becomes a way of keeping score, or something like that.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on May 20, 2009 12:26 PM

I liked this commentary, it is true, but I had never seen it this way until I read your thought. My Husband has been homeless in the past, he would be the first to give someone the shirt off of his back. I use to get mad at him when he would come home and be like "Babe, there was a homeless guy with his family on the street, so I gave him my can tuna fish and the can opener (that I finally just bought for our family). I would say "WHY would you do that? I just got that and we need it, and what did you eat for lunch?" I always thought that I was brought up poor, and we were, but somehow, I never went without. Being the youngest, I think I was babied and shielded from a lot of the poverty somehow. Thank you for sharing this point of view, it made me think more about giving what I do have, and not being spoiled and expecting more. It is too easy in the American society to get pampered, expectant of comfort and forget about our fellow man. Thank you kindly.

Posted by: Tierra Griffin on May 20, 2009 5:48 PM

And thank you, Tierra, for inspiring me to try to do better.

My grandmother had the mark on her back gate, but you're too young, Jerry, to have paid a call. Thirteen assorted relatives in half a duplex, often having to run a tab at the grocery store, but she always found sustenance for the weary traveler. I should be doing more.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on May 22, 2009 2:23 AM

I'm guessing that most people by now don't know what the mark on the back gate was. How about explaining it for the young folks, Joyful Alternative? I'd do it except that there were different marks and I don't know what your grandmother's was.

Posted by: Furber on May 22, 2009 8:38 AM
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