The Diminishing Value of a Dollar


Money is only as good as what you can trade for it.

Most people believe that the more money or possessions they have, the more fulfillment they’ll experience.  In my book, Rich Forever, I use the analogy of three steak dinners to illustrate that it’s just the opposite.

“Imagine three of the thickest, juiciest steaks in the world are served up in front of you right now. These are really big ones like you’d expect from the finest steak houses. All three are identical. And all three are the tastiest cuisine available anywhere. As you sink your teeth into the first one, the value it brings is high. Not only is it satisfying your basic need for sustenance, but it’s also pleasing your palate at the same time.

As you bite into the second one, the experience is somehow a little different. The pleasure is still high. But your hunger is no longer in the ravenous category. It’s not that the steak is any less able to satisfy; it’s just that the need for satisfaction has already been met by the first one. So the second one, by default, is unable to deliver quite the same level of satisfaction as the first. It’s not that it wasn’t good. They were identical. The value is different because your need was different. Having your need for sustenance met already, the second stake represented a luxury—an indulgence above and beyond your basic needs.

Now start into the third steak and the value it brings is even lower. At this point, your stomach is starting to bulge. Instead of enjoying the experience, you now must ‘work’ to down the serving. As you chew each bite, your jaw muscles might begin to ache. The texture seems different, and the meat no longer melts in your mouth. With each swallow, you begin to feel your gag reflex kicking in. Again, this steak is identical to the other two, but because your situation is now different—your primary needs are already met—the value you receive from it has been greatly reduced. In fact, it has the potential to make you sick and throw up the whole meal!”

Contrary to the messages of our culture, the more abundant something becomes, the less value it has for the possessor. So here is my big question: What if you could trade your “third steak” in the form of money or possessions for the blessing of giving to others that are in great need or peril? What if, instead of adding nothing to your fulfillment, your abundance could add to the fulfillment of someone else?

If you bless others now with your excess, you’ll trade it for joy and fulfillment. The Bible says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), but the Scripture also tells us that even a cup of cold water given to someone in need will be rewarded in heaven (Mark 9:41). How can you use your “third steak,” or your excess time, talent, and treasure to bless others?

Always remember, money is only as good as what you trade it for.

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