According to Wikipedia, Andrew Carnegie (November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the highest profile philanthropists of his era and had given away almost 90 percent – amounting to, in 1919, $350 million (in 2014, $4.76 billion) – of his fortune to charities and foundations by the time of his death.
His 1889 article proclaiming “The Gospel of Wealth” called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated a wave of philanthropy. While my characters are true historical figures, I took some creative liberties in the following. It is based on Mr. Carnegie’s Mother, Margaret Morrison Carnegie, and a trip to Chicago.
Mrs. Carnegie was visiting Chicago taking in all that the city’s unique culture has to offer. It was a cold and rainy day and she stepped into a department store to escape the weather and wait for a cab to take her back to her hotel. There was a group of salesmen huddled around killing time without any customers when Mrs. Carnegie entered the store.
One asked if he could help her and she politely said no that she was waiting for a cab. He returned to his associates and their conversation and essentially paid no further attention to her. Another young associate named Jim who was not a part of the group approached Mrs. Carnegie and asked if he could help her. Again she politely declined explaining her situation.
Now rather than turning his back on her, Jim opted to stay and engage in some polite conversation. He took an interest in her for the sake of being nice whether she was a prospective customer or not. In a matter of minutes a Hackney (horse-drawn carriage) pulled up in front of the store and Jim offered to escort her outside including holding her umbrella. Safe and sound in the carriage, she sped away and he returned to the warmth of the department store.
A few months later the department store manager received a request for the “nice young man” who helped Mrs. Carnegie to visit the Carnegie Castle in Scotland. The castle was in need of some new furnishings and Mrs. Carnegie specifically asked for “Jim” to help her. All of Jim’s travel expenses were covered by the Carnegie’s and the commission on the goods he sold was a life changing windfall for him.
What’s the take home message? Having a servant’s heart and serving with the proper spirit with no expectation of anything in return is the best way to live. Giving with strings or conditions attached is a flawed approach because you’re just setting yourself up for a let down when things don’t turn out your way.
The first group of salesmen didn’t give Mrs. Carnegie any further consideration once they determined there was nothing to be gained from engaging with her. Jim gave a moment of his time with a servant’s heart and he was ultimately rewarded abundantly. We can all learn from his great example.
The following verses are the essence of my message:
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
2 Corinthians 9:6
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Application for my readers:
The Golden Rule states “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is a standard that has been around since Bible times and most people are familiar with this principle.
The Platinum Rule states “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” It is not as commonly knows as the former and yet it is a great way to think and live. The Platinum Rule forces you to focus your attention on the needs of the other person rather than only seeing things from your perspective.
Jim’s actions towards Mrs. Carnegie were the embodiment of the Platinum Rule. They were also a great example of the principle of Sowing and Reaping from the Laws of the Harvest:
- You will always reap what ever you sow
- You will always reap more than you sow…for better or worse
- You will always reap later than you sow….and it may not come from where you expect, but it will come.
And the key that makes these principles work is that you have to do the work with the proper spirit. Jim sowed an ounce of kindness towards Mrs. Carnegie with the proper spirit and with no expectation of anything in return and he was truly blessed well beyond measure.
The world would be a better place if more people lived like Jim.
Best of luck in your journey.