Have you ever written something and before the ink is dry you know you are going to be in trouble if it ever sees the light of day. Well, here goes.
I have been blessed to know people in several different countries from lecturing and teaching about Entrepreneurship, yet there is one culture besides my own that I have worked closely with for more than twenty years. In fact, I have probably flown for more that 12 hours each way more than 40 times to be with these chosen people.
They are the kindest, most forgiving, humblest, appreciative; the list goes on and on, people that I know. They share what very little they have with others. They truly would give “the shirt off their back,” if they could. They are pleasant, self-deprecating, spiritual and just the opposite of hard hearted. They are the epitome of the Good Samaritan found in Luke chapter 10.
Yet, for 20 years I have been trying to change the mindset of thousands of these chosen people. What is wrong with me? I am trying to make them more like me: an American business person
Let me explain my dilemma:
While the people I speak of want to be Good Samaritans, They have almost nothing to give. They have no medicine for the wounded, and many carry no extra bread for food on their mule – in fact, they have no mule. They are poor themselves, robbed perhaps by society or inequality or whatever. They have the heart and spirit of the Good Samaritan but not the resources.
When these people start small businesses, as we teach them to do so they can accumulate some regular income, they often, if asked, freely give away some of their inventory and merchandise to friends and relatives.
So, one of the basic 25 rules of business success we feel the need to teach them is: BE NICE LATER. See what I mean by this dilemma? We are actually teaching them not to be the Good Samaritan.
When they first start out in business and their friends and relatives ask for free food or a deep discount on goods or services, we strongly encourage them to reply, “I can’t give you what little I have in my business now or I will never have enough to take care of my own family.”
We teach them to say: “Let me just build up a little reserve, a little financial security, then I can hire you or your children or other members of the community, but if I give away what little I have now, I will never really be able to help you in a big way, like I can later.”
So, I ask you, am I teaching them to be like the priest and the Levite who “passed by on the other side” instead of stopping and helping someone in need? Or am I, in fact, teaching them to be like the Good Samaritan, only later, after they have established themselves and their family with a little self-reliance?
I believe they should wait to help others materially until after they have a first aid kit, a supply of food, a mule to carry their personal goods, and a good enough credit rating that the innkeeper will trust them to pay any additional costs of sheltering the wounded man, later.
It’s a little like the instruction the flight attendant gives before the plane takes off: “If there’s an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask before you try to help your neighbor.”
The Church’s self-reliance department has created a great video on this very subject: Don’t Kill the Chickens. (Be sure to watch part I and III). This story illustrates what I have been trying to teach those I consider as part of the Lord’s chosen people. I suggest you view it and then answer for yourself: Will they still be chosen if they ensure their own basic needs are met before they become like the Good Samaritan?
I believe they will.
To read more about a nonprofit organization that teaches self-reliance to tens of thousands of people in eight countries, go to academyforenterprise.org