Yesterday I heard a story about a very popular preacher who came from a tiny, poor shanty town. As this preacher’s popularity grew, he made enough money that he could afford to move out of the small, poverty-stricken place of his birth. But he didn’t leave. When he was asked why he stayed, why he didn’t move to the bigger, nicer, safer place he could now easily afford, he said, “This is where I came from.” It’s a sweet sentiment, but it’s also wrong.
It’s not wrong to want serve the people in the community from where you came. It’s also not a bad thing to live beneath your means. But this preacher’s success could have served as an example of what hard work and dedication can do to free you from the circumstance of your birth.
His success might have served as an example of what is possible. It could have provided others with a bigger vision of themselves; if he could make it out of the poverty into which he was born so could they. Instead, he served as an example continuing to live in poverty is an acceptable choice. It’s a too small vision, and many more stand to benefit from a bigger vision.
There is no shame in the circumstances of your birth. But there is also no shame in escaping those circumstances. It’s not arrogant to be more, to do more, and to have more. It’s arrogant to feel guilty about your success because you believe that others aren’t capable of the same.
Your success can leave a path for others to follow. It can serve as an example that you don’t have to accept the circumstances of your birth—that you shouldn’t accept them.