I was reading my Bible the other day, making my way through a one-year reading plan (which I’m only halfway into, after starting a year ago—but that’s another story…).
As I was reading, something grabbed my attention. So much so that I just had to share it.
In Acts 20 Paul is saying his goodbyes to some close friends. He has spent lots of time with them, and is pretty sure they won’t ever see each other again. Along with saying goodbye, he’s reinforcing the things he did and taught them while they were together. You can read it all to get the full story if you want. But as I read his words to the leaders in Ephesus, this part stuck out to me:
I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 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.’ – Acts 20:33-35
Here were my immediate take-aways from this. I hope this might inspire you, like it did me:
- It’s much better to give than to receive.
- It’s also better to work hard and take care of those around us than to envy other people’s wealth.
- God will always provide our needs. We are more valuable than the birds and the lilies. We know that. But if we are able to work hard and earn more than enough to take care of our most immediate needs, we should look for ways to bless others with our wealth.
This inspires me. I want to work harder, bless more people and be more grateful for what I have, rather than wishing I had more.
I have a lot of respect for Milton Friedman. For those who don’t know, he was a man who, in his time, saw the rise of Communist and Socialist schools of thought and actively sought to teach people why Free-Market Capitalism is a better solution for governmental economic policy. He had studied the failures and successes throughout history and understood the policies that drove both. Yet then, greed and envy clouded people’s rational thinking and led people to overlook the great failures of imperfect people given so much power over their constituents.
Sometimes the truth is an uphill battle. It’s easier sometimes to believe a simple lie than the complex truth. A powerful, evil (and smart) dictator named Adolf Hitler understood this concept well. That’s why he said, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
But often the truth is simpler than we think. I have great respect for those who understand complex philosophies and can break them down into simple enough terms that any college kid or TV-watcher can understand. If Milton Friedman was alive today, I have no doubt he’d still be doing the same things. He believed passionately in the freedom of every individual and the protection of the pursuit of happiness.
Enjoy some of his great teaching moments. And as you watch, try to see if there might be some very similar arguments going on right now. Does he answer some of the big questions and debates we’ve been having as a country over the past few years? Is the truth he speaks timeless (even if the video footage is not)? Are there politicians on both sides of the partisan divide getting off-track from the simple truths he presents?
For more, check out the entire Free to Choose series Friedman created back in 1980.
All 10 parts are free on YouTube!
There may even be things he says with which you disagree. That’s great! Just understand what they are and why exactly you disagree. I believe open, honest debate is essential and vital to the longevity and greatness of this nation. And understanding both sides of an argument certainly helps to foster legitimate debate, rather than the simple, lazy derision of people we disagree with. For these reasons, I’m extremely grateful for Milton Friedman and the ideas he invested so much of his life to promote.
Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman!