He told me that understanding joy beings when we learn that ownership pertains only to things that we can take with us when we leave this world. The rest of what we perceive as ours is only in our stewardship for a time. He explained that many people he had known over the years had spent their lives amassing great wealth, only to die alone. Others, he said, made their fortunes and spent it on toys, trips, and homes all over the world.

He spoke of a few of his friends who understood joy and instead of living lavishly or selfishly, gave their money to build hospitals and soup kitchens, training centers and schools. They funded research institutions to study and rid the world of disease, finding ways to use their money to better the lives and lifestyles of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. He insisted that everyone, regardless of his station in life or the size of his bank account, could experience this same joy. He promised me that those who truly understand their role as stewards over God’s gifts always have enough for their needs and their money is often returned to them tenfold, inspiring them to give more.

He taught me that is is easier to develop a generous heart when you are young and poor, warning that once a man believes his wealth and position in life are due only to his own efforts, understanding joy becomes much more difficult.

Joy, in all its glory, can only be obtained through unselfishness.

This is not something that the rest of the world understands.

We are taught from a very young age that you must consume to be happy. Bigger homes, bigger bank accounts, nicer cars, and clothes are all on the agenda to become happy.

But we can’t be fooled.

A Steward understands that everything he has can be taken away by the actual owner.