the good samaritan

There’s an important lesson conveyed in the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is a parable told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.

It is about a traveler who encounters some robbers who strip him, beat him and leave him half dead alongside the road. First, a priest sees him, but he avoids him. Then, a Levite comes by, but he ignores the man too. Later, a Samaritan happens upon the traveler. Moved by compassion, he goes to him and applies bandages to his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He puts the man on his own donkey, brings him to an inn and takes care of him. The next day before he departs, he takes two denarii and gives them to the innkeeper. He says to him, “Look after the man. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.”  

This story is a great example of generosity for sure, but it also teaches us that good intentions by themselves are not enough. In order to do good, we need money as well. As Margaret Thatcher remarked, “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well.”

We may have good intentions to help someone or some cause, but we can’t deny that sometimes it takes money to move things forward. We would wish to be generous, but we can’t do anything about that situation. That’s why, we need to work towards positioning ourselves financially to be generous, so that when the need is there — some cause or initiative that we’re truly passionate about — then we can do something about it and help things progress by writing a check or making an online donation.

Not too long ago, the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was devastated by a massive fire. Soon after the tragedy occurred, French billionaires and donors pledged that they would donate hundreds of millions of euros towards the rebuilding of the iconic cathedral.

Here’s an excerpt from an article by CBS news that details some donations that were immediately made:

“Bernard Arnault, one of the world’s richest men, is donating 200 million euros to fund the reconstruction of Notre Dame — that’s about $226 million. Arnault and his family announced the donation via their company’s Twitter account.

Arnault is the head of LVMH, a massive company with 70 worldwide brands under its umbrella, including Louis Vuitton, Sephora and Marc Jacobs…

Another well-known French billionaire has also joined the fundraising process. François-Henri Pinault announced on his company’s Twitter account that he and his father will contribute the “funds needed to fully rebuild Notre Dame de Paris, in order to bring this jewel of our heritage back to life as soon as possible.”

Pinault is the head of Kering, a group of luxury brands that include Gucci and Saint Laurent…

In another major donation, cosmetics company L’Oreal tweeted that the Bettencourt Meyers family and the L’Oréal Group will donate 100 million euros…

Total, a French company that produces and markets fuels, natural gas and low-carbon electricity, is also donating 100 million euros to the French heritage foundation, La Fondation du patrimoine, “to help the reconstruction of this architectural jewel.”

These contributors, who are perceived as the “evil rich” ones by a certain portion of people amongst us, ended up being the most generous ones in the time of need as they wrote checks that were worth hundreds of millions of euros. This act of kindness from their part shows that they are definitely not evil and selfish, and they care a lot about France, about Paris, and this cathedral, which is one of the most iconic buildings in the world.

This gesture of generosity also inspires us to be more giving. Of course, most of us can’t donate hundreds of millions of dollars, but we can write a hundred dollar check if the need is there. Or how about just giving someone a twenty dollar bill? It’s a start.

If we truly want to position ourselves to be generous, then first we need to take good care of our finances. Our own limiting beliefs may start to surface but we need to get past them in order to win with money. Another Margaret Thatcher quote that we can keep at the back of our mind to help us keep going is: “It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.”

Building wealth may put us on the spotlight and we may be subjected to snarky remarks and criticism, but we’ll also be able to make wonderful contributions when the need arises.  

There’s no reason not to be wealthy and successful. We’ll have to make certain sacrifices on the way, but in the end we’ll be able to secure a much better financial future for ourselves. As the popular quote by Dave Ramsey goes, “Live like no one else so that later you can live and give like no one else.”

Ignore the haters, go make wealth for yourself and do wonderful things with it, such as being outrageously generous like the Good Samaritan and like the French families when the need is there.