My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Giving As Part of the Living More Than OK Lifestyle

Does the person who dies with the most money in the bank and the most land have the most flourishing More Than OK life? A dear friend of mine in Arizona sent this following web link about the Harmonica man. It is from Youtube and it shows a CBS news story of the life of Andy Mackie. He is a retired gentleman who lives a simple life in his camper trailer in Washington State.

He had numerous heart attacks and one day decided to stop his 15 medicines a day as he was tired of the side effects. He had a love of music, especially the Harmonica, so decided to use his medicine money to buy 300 harmonicas and gave them to children and gave them lessons on how to play. He must of thought that without his medicine he would die in a month. As he continued to live another month, he bought 300 more harmonicas and doing the same thing gave them to children with free music lessons.
Fast forward 11 years he has given out approximately 16,000 harmonicas. Since he lives simply, he even uses most of his Social Security funds to make a simple string instrument called a strum stick and has given them out to children as well. The report states with children in whom he saw deeper music talent he would even buy other instruments such as mandolins and guitars for them and teach them as well. Sort of like the movie and book Pay It Forward, other people became involved by sending donations to Andy. He was helped in forming a music foundation. His music foundation website www.andymackiemusic.org helps with giving instruments and lessons to needy children interested in music.

Here is the Youtube link to the news story:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSpoMWQRCiU
Give a listen to the story as it is inspirational to see the fruit of his giving spirit. I like the principle he tells the young people that “music is a gift you give away”. So he is passing his giving attitude away to the students. He also shares how the joy he receives from giving is probably why he has survived so many years after stopping his medicine. This mission of giving music away has been a foundational purpose and passion in his keeping on in his journey.

His story made me think of the scripture text in 1 Timothy 6:6-7, 17-19 — “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. ... Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” A life that is truly life is not all about building up possessions. The importance is on being content in life and using our money to be generous to others. We are not content if we are always in search to be the first on the block with the latest electronic gadget. Also this generosity is also not just writing a check but a generosity of good deeds. Such as Mr. Mackie’s taking time to pass out the harmonicas and teaching young children how to play the instruments.

Another item to note is that the Bible text is not against wealthy people. In our country today there is too much disdain for those who have worked hard to gain wealth. These Bible verses do not castigate the rich. The Apostle Paul is firmly reminding them we come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. Once we die our toys and bank accounts do not come with us to the other side. So there should be a willingness to share a portion with those who are in need. Andy Mackie is obviously not rich but he is using wisely the funds he has to change lives of young people by opening their minds to musical talent and the discipline in learning music. As research shows, this discipline can then be transferred over to other areas of their educational life.

Reflection:
What is your level of contentment in life? Are you chasing after materialism? Do you have a passion you can teach to young people or those young at heart? If you attend a church can you volunteer to serve generously with the talents you have? Is there a community group you can contribute some of your monetary and volunteer time to?

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