Sunday, August 5, 2012

Living the Dream

A 'simple home', available to only the wealthiest of the world's families

The American Dream! 
What does that mean to you and your life?

Ever talk about it?  Your life goal, I mean.

Most of us see the American Dream as described here (right) with perhaps minor variations across the generations. 

But is this 'American Dream' big enough to qualify as your life goal?

Is it a great enough purpose to fill your mind and hours and efforts?  Is it worth all your days going to work and all the years of commitment?

Or might the dream by itself be somewhat narrow?  What if it focuses so much on 'me and mine' that it misses some larger purpose and opportunity that being an American offers you and your family.  What if you wanted to be a world changer?  Could you add 'change the world for the better' to the top of the list above?

Got guts?  Read on.

What if by choice and plan, we lived simply and well within our means?  We and our family would perhaps have some financial flexibility, and we could pitch in where it mattered for someone else.    We'd be a little odd, perhaps, from our friends' point of view.   So?  Could we live with that; being a little odd?  Or even a lot odd?

A friend of mine in Texas was old and wealthy. I didn't know about the 'wealthy' part until after he'd died; he and his family lived simply and generously. He paid for me to go Colorado when I was 18 to attend a summer youth festival (another story) which pretty much reshaped my thinking. I owe him, big time. So do a lot of other folks from those days, apparently.  Odd fellow, right?

R. G. LeTourneau was another screwball.  As a multi-millionaire, LeTourneau gave 90% of his profit to God's work and kept only 10% for his own purposes. He also founded a university that is thriving to this day.

LeTourneau said that the money came in faster than he could give it away.  He was convinced that he could not out-give God.  "I shovel it out,” he would say, “and God shovels it back, but God has a bigger shovel."

LeTourneau planned his life around a dream larger than just what he could own personally or how comfortably he might live. He is considered to this day to have been the world’s greatest inventor of earth-moving and materials handling equipment. And his generosity was extraordinary.  An odd fellow indeed.

On LeTorneau's grave - "Seek ye first..."

We can spend our lives chasing the American Dream, you and I. We'll probably achieve it in some measure, and we'll probably wish, when we reach the end, that we'd dreamed bigger.

Jesus was odd, too. So were his disciples and the folks in the churches. The world didn't receive them well, but they lived the dream for real. I wonder what it would look like if we did too.