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God's Spiritual Stimulus Plan – Generosity (14 of 14)
Series: God's Spiritual Stimulus Plan
INTRODUCTION: Hetty Green was the richest woman in 19th century America having died in 1916 with a solid two hundred million dollar fortune. But she was a miser. She rode the ferry with the cars rather than pay the passenger fee. She lived in a dumpy house in Hoboken. She had two changes of clothes, both black and tattered. She would travel hundreds of miles to collect debt payments. She never tipped. This was a woman who refused to pay the doctor to treat her son's leg wound so it later had to be amputated. She hated everyone and everything. When she died her fortune benefited no one. One good thing about her...she had no use for politicians. When the politicians asked her railroad officials for free passes, she instructed the officials to hand them a card that read:
MONDAY: "Thou shalt not pass." Numbers 20:18.
TUESDAY: "Suffer not a man to pass." Judges 3:28
WEDNESDAY: "The wicked shall pass no more." Nahum 1:15
THURSDAY: "This generation shall not pass." Mark 13:30
FRIDAY: "By a perpetual decree it shall not pass." Jer. 5:22
SATURDAY: "None shall pass." Isaiah 24:10
SUNDAY: "So he paid the fare thereof and went." Jonah 1:2
Contrast Hetty Green to Charles Feeney. In 1988 Forbes magazine listed Feeney as the 23rd richest man in America with a personal worth of 1.3 billion but in fact, four years earlier Feeney had secretly given away almost his entire fortune through a philanthropic trust. He had retained enough to live on the rest of his life but no longer even owned a house or a car. He was, as a writer would later entitle his biography, "The billionaire who wasn't." He did all of his giving anonymously until he was "outed" in 1996. His children describe him as a happy man who would have probably been less happy had he tried to hold onto his fortune.
I've been in a sermon series based on Paul's letter to th ...
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