Living Generously

This week we heard that Mavis L. Wanczyk, a hospital worker of Chicopee, Massachusetts won US$758.7 million, the largest undivided jackpot lottery win in U.S. history.

Go on, admit it. You spent a minute or two deciding how you would spend that kind of money if it had been you.

Obviously, there are winners in all kinds of lotteries but the odds of winning a big prize aren’t all that good. I’ve done a little research and you’ve got a much better chance of being killed by lightning, being blackmailed or seriously injuring yourself while shaving. While I’d prefer to have 758.7 million dollars in my pocket than the other three options, I know that the chances aren’t all that great so I don’t bother buying tickets.

On top of that, there is a lot of evidence that shows those who wind a windfall will generally end up bankrupt or in a worse situation within three to five years.

Jack Whittaker was already a millionaire when he won a $315 million in a lottery in West Virginia in 2002. The then-55-year-old West Virginia construction company president claimed he went broke about four years later and lost a daughter and a granddaughter to drug overdoses, which he blamed on the curse of the Powerball win, according to ABC News.

“My granddaughter is dead because of the money,” he told ABC. “You know, my wife had said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we had torn the ticket up, too.” Whittaker was also robbed of $545,000 sitting in his car while he was at a strip club eight months after winning the lottery. “I just don’t like Jack Whittaker. I don’t like the hard heart I’ve got,” he said. “I don’t like what I’ve become.” – Time

Jack Whittaker’s isn’t the only bad news story to come from lottery wins. Studies show that many winners struggle with suicide, depression, and divorce.

But that wouldn’t happen to me.

We like to think that we’d be somehow different if we were in that situation. We like to think that we’d be one of the success stories.

All the bad news stories still don’t stop me from thinking of what I would do with a huge windfall if someone gave it to me. I’d hope to secure my financial future, help out some friends, and give some substantial funding to a number of causes I’m passionate about.

What would you do if you were suddenly millions of dollars richer?

The interesting thing is that most people would spend their money in the same way, whether they had a lot or very little. The extra money would magnify the patterns that have already been set. If you’re the kind of person who only spends on themselves, you’re unlikely to become generous to others if you suddenly become rich.

If you are generous when you don’t have much you’re likely to be generous if a large sum ever comes your way.

I remember a few years ago speaking to a woman living in extreme poverty while trying to raise her son. She made false eyelashes to earn an income of just 30 cents a day. When her infant son got ill, her friends, all living on around the same income, gave her money to help. They didn’t give out of an excess that someone had given them, they were generous even with the little they had.

All the talk of giving to good causes if people ever get the money to do so generally comes to nothing unless we’ve set the pattern with the little or much that we already have.

I don’t have a lot of money but I do try to support causes that I believe in. I’m very unlikely to ever find myself swimming in cash but if that ever happened, I hope that I would be generous with my money.

What are the patterns you’re setting now? Are you generous with what you already have?

Don’t live on the dream of something that is never likely to happen. Generosity isn’t about the amount you give, it’s a heart thing. Choose today to live with a heart of generosity towards others. Look for opportunities to give to those who are in need.

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Imagine Generosity

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Imagination is powerful. Imagination takes us from where we are to where we could be. Imagination drives us forward to a better future.

German-born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, knew the power of imagination.

I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. – Albert Einstein

Our knowledge tells us what we have already discovered and found to be true. Imagination expands our thinking to discover what might be. It tells us that what we know so far isn’t all there is to know. Imagination says that things don’t have to stay the way they are. We can imagine a better tomorrow.

Will you dare to imagine?

Perth’s Christian radio station, 98five, is asking people to imagine.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

Take a moment and imagine if these things permeated our community!

Imagine what impact and changes would happen in the lives of West Australians!

Will you dare to imagine?

Without imagination, our communities, our city, our state, our country and our world might be fooled into believing that this is as good as it gets. Surely we can imagine better.

98five is asking people what they can imagine for Perth but I reckon we can all imagine better for our own communities wherever we are.

What can you imagine?

I can imagine a Perth that is more generous. I don’t just mean being generous in the sense of handing over some dollars for a good cause. People in Perth are already pretty good at that. Whenever there’s an appeal for someone in need or for a cause that requires funding, the people of Perth respond in amazing ways.

There’s more to generosity.

When I look at definitions for ‘generous’ or ‘generosity’ I see phrases like, “willingness and liberality in giving away one’s money, time”, “willing to give money, help, kindness, etc., especially more than is usual or expected” and “kindness, especially in giving things to people” but I also find phrases like, “abundance, plenty” and “freedom from pettiness in character and mind”.

Yes, I think there’s always more room for being generous with our money. There are wonderful organisations such as 98five which can only operate when people are prepared to give, (You can donate right now to their Radiothon) but we need to broaden our idea of generosity.

I like the definition that speaks of “freedom from pettiness in character and mind”.

Imagine if we refused the pettiness that can sometimes entangle us and decided to think the best of others. Imagine if we refused to make our first response one of thinking badly of others but instead we considered others better than ourselves.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3

Imagine if we simply decided to give others the benefit of the doubt.

Imagine if we treated others with the same kindness that we’d like to experience.

Imagine if we were truly generous with our opinions of others and their motives. Sure, there would be times that we might be disappointed but surely generosity is a better starting point than cynicism and suspicion becoming our default position.

Imagine a generosity that chose to forgive rather than keep score.

Let’s decide to be more open handed with others. Let’s imagine a community that lavishes honour, love and concern on others. Let’s be generous. And yes, not everyone may ‘deserve’ that generosity but I can assure you that I am the least deserving of a God who would give everything, including his own son, to restore relationship with me. I am the least deserving, yet I am incredibly thankful.

Imagine.

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Who is our newest millionaire?

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This week we heard that someone in Western Australia has won 50 million dollars. The Lotto winners have yet to claim their prize and so the search is on to discover who has become an instant multi-millionaire. It’s the largest amount ever to be won in Western Australia and Lotterywest tells us it wasn’t a syndicate but a single ticket, meaning that one person is the winner. I reckon people all over WA should be a little nicer to those around them in case they’re talking to a new millionaire without knowing it.

I can assure you that it wasn’t me who won. The fact that I’ve never bought a ticket in my life kind of guarantees that.

Obviously there are winners in all kinds of lotteries but the odds of winning a big prize aren’t all that good. I’ve done a little research and you’ve got a much better chance of being killed by lightning, being blackmailed or seriously injuring yourself while shaving. While I’d prefer to have 50 million dollars in my pocket than the other three options, I know that the chances aren’t all that great so I don’t bother buying tickets.

Mind you, that doesn’t stop me from thinking of what I would do with the 50 million if someone gave it to me. I’d be able to secure my financial future, help out some friends, and give some substantial funding to a number of causes I’m passionate about.

What would you do if you were suddenly 50 million dollars richer?

I know that most people would spend their money in the same way, whether they had a lot or very little. If you are generous when you don’t have much you’re likely to be generous if a large sum ever comes your way. If you’re the kind of person who only spends on themselves, you’re unlikely to become generous to others if you suddenly become rich. All the talk of giving to good causes if people ever get the money to do so generally comes to nothing unless we’ve set the pattern with the little or much that we already have.

I don’t have a lot of money but I do try to support causes that I believe in as much as possible. I’m very unlikely to ever find myself swimming in cash but if that ever happened, I hope that I would be generous with my money.

So, dream a little. How would you use $50 000 000?

UPDATE:The winners, a family in Perth’s southern suburbs, have now claimed their prize.

One of the winners, whose names have not been revealed, said she started “seriously shaking” seeing all the numbers line up.

“I thought I must have been seeing things,” she said in a statement.

“We’re just a hard battling family and we don’t want this win to change us.

“This never happens to people like us!”

The family will use the money to undertake home renovations and pay down their debt.

“Now we can pay off debt, take care of our family and do some much needed home renovations,” they said.

“We also want to donate to charity and we can with this amount.” – ABC News

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Winning Twenty Million Dollars

Yesterday morning I heard that someone in Western Australia had won 20 million dollars. The Lotto winners, a suburban couple, claimed their prize yesterday. It’s the largest amount to be won in Western Australia so far this year and is the fourth biggest in WA history.

I can assure you that it wasn’t me who won. The fact that I’ve never bought a ticket in my life kind of guarantees that.

Obviously there are winners in all kinds of lotteries but the odds of winning a big prize aren’t all that good. I’ve done a little research and you’ve got a much better chance of being killed by lightning, being blackmailed or seriously injuring yourself while shaving. While I’d prefer to have 20 million dollars in my pocket than the other three options, I know that the chances aren’t all that great so I don’t bother buying tickets.

Mind you, that doesn’t stop me from thinking of what I would do with 20 million bucks if someone gave it to me. I’d be able to secure my financial future, help out some friends, and give some substantial funding to a number of causes I’m passionate about.

What would you do if you were suddenly 20 million dollars richer?

I know that most people would spend their money in the same way, whether they had a lot or very little. If you are generous when you don’t have much you’re likely to be generous if a large sum ever comes your way. If you’re the kind of person who only spends on themselves, you’re unlikely to become generous to others if you suddenly become rich.

I don’t have a lot of money but I do try to support causes that I believe in as much as possible. I’m very unlikely to ever find myself swimming in cash but if that ever happened, I hope that I would be generous with my money.

So, dream a little. How would use use $20 000 000?

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