BY BILL REAGAN
The nice thing about working at a non-profit is that the bottom line is not the bottom line. Non-profits are not money makers, though it is especially important to manage well the finances of a non-profit. There is seldom much of a surplus.
Many years ago, my wife and I imposed on a friend to take care of our children while we attended to an urgent matter. She was very gracious and came to our aid right away. When we returned I offered our friend a $20 bill just to say thanks for the inconvenience. She replied, “No todo es dinero, Pastor.” (“Some things are not about money, Pastor.”)
The truly important things in life are never about money.
Prosperity is nice. It may bring great opportunities, luxuries and enjoyments. Prosperity can also bring pain, sorrow and heartache.
Non-profits define their bottom line by services rendered, change accomplished, measurable good done in a community.
That’s life’s real bottom line — the good accomplished. It is not so simple as a profit and loss statement. The real bot-tom line is much harder to achieve, and takes more work. That hard work is found in the disciplines of personal character — education, citizenship, service, stewardship and compromise.
The worthiest of bottom lines is a world changed for the better. To change the world you have to change yourself. That’s education. Education is not simply mastering facts or a new skill. Education is the internal change that allows us to know and better relate to the world around us.
The educated person knows how to practice citizenship, service, stewardship and compromise. No part of the world belongs to any individual. We are part of a larger community to which we have responsibilities. We take care of our little portion for a little while, then leave it to a new generation, for better or for worse.
Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.