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'When I am 40, I hope I'm not a millionaire'

By Jo Ratnarajah | 28 August 2013

Alex at Greenbelt

This was the title of the talk given by my friend and colleague Alex Khan at Greenbelt last weekend, organised by Threads (

Alex did a dry run here at Stewardship a few days before and I know I was not alone in being impacted by her words. The notion of being generous, even to the point of giving it all away, even when you have nothing left to give, is something that goes against our instinct, maybe against even our human nature.

Alex spoke passionately about the life lessons she has learned and the people she has been impacted by. She has learnt that life isn’t about how much wealth you can earn but about how much you can use what you have to help others.

One of the people mentioned in her talk was Chuck Feeney. Chuck is a philanthropist and founder of ‘The Atlantic Philanthropies’. Quite simply, he is an inspiring individual.

“I had one idea that never changed in my mind—that you should use your wealth to help people. I try to live a normal life, the way I grew up," Feeney said. "I set out to work hard, not to get rich.”

He has given away $6.2 billion over the last 30 years. Through his foundation, he aims to give away a further $1.3 billion by 2016.

He doesn’t do it for glory. By all accounts he is un-assuming, rarely does interviews or press, and uses a plastic bag instead of a briefcase.

Chuck is one example of generosity. But it got me thinking about the inspiring individuals in my life.

Those people who give and give behind closed doors and never expect anything in return. Those people who pray relentlessly for others and keep on going until they see breakthrough and even beyond. The ones who you know will drop everything and come running when you need them, anytime of the day or night.

The ones who bless people with their resources, whether they have little or much, simply because they know that what they have is from their Father in heaven, and because He has commanded us to give.

So I have to agree with Alex; when I’m 40 I want to be able to say that I gave and I gave and I gave. Not just my money, but my time & my love - everything that I could give. That would be a life worth living.

‘The generous man will prosper. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed’
Proverbs 11:25

(P.S. If you would like to listen to Alex’s talk, it was recorded by GTV, and should be available on the Greenbelt website in the next few months.)


bible generous


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