He literally won the lottery. His winnings were some $40 million. He knew immediately what he would do with it: give it away to charity. All of it.
What does it take to do that? How could he? What is the motivator?
Well, we’re not going to psychoanalyze him. We can’t get on the inside of his head. But some surface explanations were immediately forthcoming.
He said that he had made an exceptionally good living already and had an adequate retirement income and resources set aside for family for the future. He was not hurting. He thought he had enough, perhaps more than enough. So, he reasoned, why should he have more? Here is a man who knows what enough, more than enough, is.
I am not so sure that most people know what that word, enough, really means. Acquiring more, even when needs are met and even luxuries provided, always seems to be merited in our materialistic society. There is more available so I should take it or sacrifice for it.
Here was a man who knew what enough meant. Did he know more about acquired wealth that he didn’t share? Did he believe that such a windfall would bring unexpected consequences? Did he know from experience that it could ruin him, his children, his relationships? Had he read Steinbeck’s The Pearl and ran like a madman and cast the great pearl back into the sea?
And what of his altruism? What forces – from childhood to the present – shaped his sense of giving? Who modeled the life of compassion, service and generosity for him? Had he always treated his resources this way? Did this event, coming as it did in the winter of life, awaken him to “now or never” urgency; if I’m not generous with this kind of opportunity then when could I be generous, ever?
$40 million. What would you do with it? Why?