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What if money were no object?

British philosopher and writer Alan Watts (1915-1973) asks the seemingly simple question of what you would do if money were no object.

If you say that money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time: You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is, in order to go on doing things you don’t like doing — which is stupid!

I thought the video connects to things someone else once said:

‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

‘No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

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3 thoughts on “What if money were no object?”

  1. One of the richest Americans who ever lived was Jay Gould, but very few people remember him today because he did nothing for others- unlike some of his wealthy peers he wasn’t interested in philanthropy or people as anything but a means to make more money. If ever he is remembered it is around a statement he made ‘I can hire half the working class to shoot the other half…’ or the phrase Black Friday, ( referring to share price collapse rather than modern sale shopping ) from the day in 1869 when Jay Gould established a reputation as the man who controlled the New York stock market.

    I suppose he is the epitomy of the American Dream, but here’s a quote from economist and Congresswoman Elizabeth Warren

    ‘There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there – good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory… Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea – God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along…’

  2. When I was a young man, I had dreams of building a home in the country. In those dreams, I had a private Japanese style garden off the bedroom. Out back, there was a large woodworking and pottery studio with several kilns intended for different forms of firing work. Additionally, there were several small cottages for college students to hone their craft and skills…a place of learning and respite.

    I loved working with wood and clay.

    Well, that never happened. I had been a pilot in the military and after leaving the service, I took a job with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration, here in the States) as an air traffic controller. I took the job for two primary reasons. (1) It paid well and (2) the retirement benefits were great.

    Many of people think being a controller must be the most stressful job in the world. Actually, it’s mostly boring. I use to tell friends, “…it’s hour after hour of boredom interrupted by brief moments of stark terror.” By the time I retired in 2005 I’d had all the boredom I could stomach.

    But, in spite of taking that job versus doing what I loved, there is more to the story: Three times in my 34-year aviation career I was privileged to save the lives of pilots and passengers who had gotten into situations that were beyond their ability and control. My piloting skills helped me talk them down safely.

    My reasons for going into that field may have been selfish–seeking money–but God used me anyway. And so, I’ve been blessed…knowing that there are people alive today that might otherwise not be.

    Still, I miss that home in the woods…the home that never was…and the kilns…and helping the students discover their crafts anew….

    Blessings are sometimes mixed with regrets.

  3. Mr Mills that is sad you missed a beloved dream, can you find some part of it in retirement?
    I used to live near here http://www.terrastudios.com/ and there are many similar places around the world.

    How amazing that you protected and saved lives, the noblest things people do in life no one may ever know- except God and the angels.

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