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You Can Be As Rich As Bill Gates 08/10/2007

Bill Gates

Bill Gates now has the most powerful charitable foundation in history.

Last year's announcement of Warren Buffet's $31 billion pledge to the Gates Foundation charity caught the attention of every non-profit organization in the world. Gates had just announced his plans to leave Microsoft to dedicate his life to charity work. His reputation for innovation and demand for results earned the respect of America's second-richest man, whose donations will double the foundation's assets from about $29 to $60 billion. The Gates Foundation was already the largest charitable organization in history; now it dwarfs the second-place Ford Foundation's base of $11 billion.

What is being done with all of this wealth and power? Good things, we hope. Their self-described goal states, "Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to reduce inequities and improve lives around the world." I pray they will make wise investments to enhance life and turn away from questionable organizations like Planned Parenthood.

One of the greatest potentials of the Gates Foundation is the fact that it is a relatively new non-governmental organization. Bill Gates will force creative problem-solving and push his recipients to produce results. The lethargic attitudes that have crept into many second and third generation foundations won't be tolerated with Gates. With that kind of dedication to excellence and efficiency, I am optimistic that cures will be found, crises will be averted and lives will be improved.

For many years, Bill and Melinda Gates have focused their charitable energies on eradicating poverty and disease, primarily in Third-World countries. I can't help but believe that the joy derived from these efforts led to the couple's decision to devote themselves fully to this type of work.

Many years ago, my wife and I discovered the unparalleled joy of reaching out to others, specifically by providing food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, shelter to the homeless, and care for the abandoned. With the help of our supporters, we have expanded the outreaches to over forty countries on all six inhabited continents. But it's the look of gratitude on a single child's face -- a little girl who stops crying when someone holds her or a little boy who smiles when he receives a bowl of nutritious soup -- that helps us understand how meaningful our lives are when we dedicate ourselves to helping others.

Betty and I, like most of us in wealthy nations like America, Canada, England and Australia, have been tremendously blessed. We do not go hungry. We do not lack for water. We have everything we need and more. But we are not content to live in comfort while others suffer. By reaching out to help "the least of these," as Jesus Christ described those in need, we found out the true meaning of prosperity -- one that surpasses anything money can buy.

We have been especially moved to see young children organize fund raisers to help drill water wells or provide food and shelter. We were inspired when we heard from a 12-year-old boy who had saved enough money to buy himself a go-cart, but decided instead to help us feed the hungry children he saw on our television program LIFE Today. That boy is rich in a way many adults never experience.

While it's interesting to watch and discuss the activities of people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, the joy they will hopefully find in helping others is not reserved for the super-rich. The experience of giving wholeheartedly to meet someone else's basic need remains the same whether it's $10 or $10 million. The gratitude of one person can lift your spirit as much as the gratitude of 1000. When you lose yourself in caring for others, you will find a reward worth far more than any dollar amount. In that way, you can be as rich as the richest people on earth -- even Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

This column was originally published on June 29, 2006 and updated for this week.

Author: James Robison               Randy Robison

Word Count: 655

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.