Who Owns Your Wealth?

What do we mean when we say somebody owns something? I think we mean that it is ours to do with what we want. I bought something, it is mine; I can do with it what I please. Or, I give somebody something, and it is hers; she can do with it what she pleases. Likewise, if someone in my family leaves me a life insurance benefit, that money is mine. I can spend it, or save it, or invest it as I see fit.

But don’t I have any constraints at all over what I can do with that money? When you think about it, there are indeed a few. First of all, if someone in my family does leave me a life insurance benefit, I must see that there was intent behind that decision. The money should be used to live the good life they would want me to lead, and not become a wasteful bum. It would be dishonorable to let that person down and violate the spirit in which that money was given to me.

Along those lines, I cannot use the money for illicit or illegal gains. That would be a betrayal but only of my loving family member, but of society as well. We each have an implicit contract with others to use our power for constructive, and not destructive, purposes. Take a look at what terror groups like Hamas do with the financial assistance they receive: they buy weaponry and launch those missiles against civilians. They not only betray the donors who had offered humanitarian aid – they also betray humanity by unleashing deadly force against the innocent.

What if I decided to live a good life, to not waste money, and to not engage in illicit or illegal activities? Would I then be upholding all my responsibilities? Tell you the truth, I don’t think so. I believe there is one more obligation that must be met: it is to the Generator of all wealth. In the final analysis, we must give full credit where all credit is due. That, of course, means we have a duty towards the people with whom we do business, and from whom we inherit money. But it also means that we recognize and appreciate the Source of all our powers to produce in the first place.

The One who made us human gave us astounding powers to create, to manufacture, to connect with people. To build stuff and share it, and trade it, and use it to help others. All the wealth we accumulate and generate is a byproduct of this creative potential that has been granted to us. As such, we really cannot claim it is exclusively ours. It can more appropriately be described as a loan from the Grantor.

What do you think? Who really is the source of your wealth?