Miss Helen Gould On The Stewardship Of Wealth
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IN all that has to do with benevolence, philanthropy and human kindness, Miss Helen Miller Gould has for a number of years borne an active and prominent part. We copy a letter from Miss Gould which will interest everyone who has given even a passing thought to the subject of the responsibilities that attach to the possession of great riches. Is wealth a stewardship, and are we responsible for the use we make of it? In her letter, Miss Gould clearly takes this view. She discusses the various methods in which wealth may be made a blessing; how it may be applied to the highest advantage and to the noblest purposes. " LYNDHURST, IRVINGTON-ON-THE-HUDSON.
" MR. LOUIS KLOPSCH :
" Dear Sir—Your letter of recent date is at hand, asking my opinion on the subject, ` How to Make the Most of Wealth.' It is a topic on which I am not well-qualified to speak, and I would suggest that you make the same inquiry of some of our leading clergymen, whose views on the subject would be a great inspiration to us all.
" The Christian idea that wealth is a stewardship, or trust, and not to be used for one's personal pleasure alone, but for the welfare of others, certainly seems the noblest; and those who have more money or broader culture owe a debt to those with fewer opportunities. And there are so many ways one can help!
" Children, the sick and the aged especially, have claims on our attention, and the forms of work for them are numerous ; from kindergartens, day-nurseries and industrial schools, to ` homes ' and hospitals. Our institutions for higher education require gifts in order to do their best work, for the tuition fees do not cover the expense of the. advantages offered ; and certainly such societies as those in our churches, and the Young Woman's Christian Association and the Young Men's Christian Association, deserve our hearty co-operation. The earnest workers who so nobly and lovingly give their lives to promote the welfare of others, give far more than though they had simply made gifts of money, so those who cannot afford to give largely need not feel discouraged on that account. After all, sympathy and good-will may be a greater force than wealth, and we can all extend to others a kindly feeling and courteous consideration, that will make life sweeter and better.
" Sometimes it seems to me we do not sufficiently realize the good that is done by money that is used in the different industries in giving employment to great numbers of people under the direction of clever men and women ; and surely it takes more ability, perseverance and time to successfully manage such an enterprise than to merely make gifts.
" You will, I am sure, be sorry you have made the inquiry of me, since I have given you so little information, but I think you can easily obtain opinions that will probably be far more helpful than mine."
" Believe me, very truly,
" HELEN MILLER GOULD."
The teaching of the world has been that poverty has to minister to wealth, ignorance to intelligence, rudeness to culture, weakness to strength. That if a man have power it is that he may oppress the weak ; if he have education it is that he may be lifted above the heads of the unlettered ; if he have wealth it is that the poor may serve him. Christ taught plainly that power is to be employed in protecting and helping the weak, that wealth is under obligation to poverty, that education owes a debt to ignorance, and that holiness is for the purification of moral evil.
Many of our rich, educated, cultivated people have come to recognize this stewardship of which Miss Gould speaks, and are trying their very best to make this money-getting age the greatest money-giving age in the history of the world. They are pouring out their fortunes and lives freely into every form of benevolence, like faithful servants of their Divine Master.