Monday, April 28, 2008

Can you live like a millionaire today?

Do you remember the television show from many years ago entitled "The Millionaire"?

Perhaps you're too young to remember! I LOVED that show.

A representative of a millionaire would go to someone's house and give them a million dollars. The story developed as the recipient of the money reacted to this new wealth.

There were some very interesting stories of both positive and negative experiences. I don't think that at that time we had the lotteries that we have today. So the idea of having this wealth (and at that time, a million dollars was a HUGE amount of money) was quite a novel concept for the show. Now we hear many stories about the impact that sudden wealth has on lottery winners.

One of the greatest joys I have is giving to several charities. You may have noticed this as I've shared in the past. I have a vision of being able to give even more abundantly as my wealth increases. And for now, I feel totally a wealthy I choose where I would like to donate from my income. This mind set is what opens us up to the abundance that is available to us. We can get so used to feeling like we "can't afford" something or "just don't have much financial freedom".

Even consumers who run up huge credit card bills are not feeling abundant. They know they are spending beyond their means and are settling on having "stuff" for their happiness. There's always one more great thing they just have to have to be satisfied and then one more and one more.

The joy of giving is not joy that fizzles away quickly. There's a deep feeling of fulfillment that you are able to support others in this way. And this applies to the gift of our time and talents as well as our financial support.

Let me share an experience that I had today. As part of a series of talks about abundance at our church, each member of the congregation was given a task. Every month our church tithes one-tenth of what they take in. This goes to community causes as well as those on a national and international level. As part of this month's tithe, they decided to have all of us (about 1200 people) take an envelope with a five dollar bill and a card in it. We were to give the money to someone who fed our spirit in some way.

I have to say that my immediate reaction was, "Five dollars. That is such a small amount that I would be embarrassed to give that to someone in this way. It's certainly not a million dollars!"

As I listened on, I started to see that each small impact of the five dollar gift, six thousand dollars total, would have a trickle effect of many people receiving that small token of appreciation. We are to return the cards that we received with the money to share where we gave the money.

I could feel the excitement building in me as I thought about where my five dollar bill would land. In the past, I've done some random acts of kindness. (We'll talk about those on another day.) That always felt so great to be the anonymous giver. This had another dimension of actually handing the bill to the person.

I had a return to make at a nearby store. Those clerks at the return desk have a rather thankless and sometimes unpleasant job. People often try to take advantage of the generous return policies at some stores.

We went through the process of my return and when that was complete, I handed her the five dollars and she first held up her hands saying, "Oh no. I couldn't." I explained further about what our church was doing and it was a joy to see her look of amazement that someone actually just gave her money for no reason at all! This experience is a totally different one from donating to a charity or doing a random act of kindness. And so much fun!

I went about my shopping and when I was ready to go through the check-out line, I knew exactly what I was going to do. I had a five dollar bill of my own and I couldn't wait to give it to her. I was holding my credit card and the bill in my hand as she completed ringing up my order. As she completed the process, I handed her the money and explained what was going on. She was totally amazed as well!

I felt like a millionaire, giving just this token amount of money! I have the intention of keeping my wallet full of five dollar bills and giving them out on a regular basis. And I look forward when I will be giving out one hundred dollar bills instead. What fun that will be!

I challenge you to try this exercise. As I gave the money, I encouraged them to buy themselves a coffee. It's the most fun I've ever had with $5.00!

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