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Don't Be Mistaken For Pond Scum

by Don Current on July 5, 2010

Pond Scum

photo courtesy RedJinn

I just returned from spending a week volunteering in the poorest county in the U.S. I helped install heating and air conditioning equipment in the new addition being built at the ministry that serves the people there. This was my second year there, and I have every intention of returning again next year.

So why would I take time out from my business just to drive for 16 hours and help people I’ve only met once before in my life? I like the illustration that Dave Ramsey uses when he discusses the subject of giving. Think of one of those farm ponds you’ve seen where the water only flows into it but nothing flows out of it. It tends to grow that thick layer of green pond scum on it. That’s what people who only think of themselves and making money are… scum. Have you ever met those kind of people? They’re not very pleasant to be around are they?

I recently read a report given by an economist regarding giving. He referenced a Harvard study that analyzed 30,000 families. One of the findings of that study was that given two families of otherwise identical circumstances, the one giving $100 more to charity would actually on the average earn $375 more than the other family. Similar results were found regarding those that volunteered or donated blood.

Psychologists have found that people who give are happier people. Economists find that happier people are more successful. Happier people are more reliable, they work harder, and they work longer.

If you take a look at some of the most charitable and successful people, you will find that their giving did not just start when they became wealthy. You will find that they have had a pattern of giving throughout their climb of the ladder of success. They fully understand the relationship between charity and success.

Personally, my reasons for giving of my time, talents, and money relate back to my faith as a Christian, but regardless of your personal beliefs, the data doesn’t lie. Charitable people are happier people, and happier people are more successful people. Go out and do something for someone else with no expectation of a return. At a minimum, you will make their lives better and you’ll feel better about yourself, and no one will mistake you for a farm pond either.