Ethical Edge

By Russell Williams

Ethical Edge

Life Lessons From a Multi-Billionaire

The Ethical Edge
The Art of Integrity

Marketing Manager, Commercial Designs Solutions
Partner, Finding Freedom International

We are only TRULY alive when we give.
Self-serving or Self-giving – Choose

At age 22 I attended a National Republican Committee dinner meeting attended by 80 people. Richard DeVos, one of America’s 100 wealthiest people, was the chairman of the Committee.

My experience of Mr. DeVos at the meeting is a lasting one.  He went to each table and personally greeted each individual.  During dinner I watched as he got up, grabbed the coffee pot, and served his table. 32 years later, that observation continues to resonate within me as  personal call to action each and every day of my life… to be of service…attending to a need that is right in front of my eyes inviting me to act.  It could be something as simple as picking up a piece of trash or offering to take a picture of a couple with their camera. Whatever presents itself is an invitation to get engaged to fulfill a need.

Life lesson #1: Keep striving to get off your ‘seat’ and be a servant at that moment if need be. The New Testament story of Barnabas is a good example.

Fast-forward to age 29. Once again I was with Rich, serving on an international ministry board. He invited me to fly back in his jet to his home in Michigan. We had a layover stop in Aspen on our way.  I was taken aback when Rich hopped into the rental car driver’s seat and invited his security person to take the passenger seat. Rich treated his security person, Tim, like a dear friend throughout the trip. He did the same with every other person whenever I was part of a DeVos gathering.

Life Lesson #2: Wealth does not define worth. You are NEVER worth more than anyone else when you understand God created each of us as unique person of immense value.

The third and most startlingly lesson over the years occurred when I would send Rich a snail-mail letter…before we had email. Normally, Rich’s reply to my note would always be written on the same paper on which I had penned  my message.  ALWAYS, Rich ended his comments with a big signature saying ‘LOVE YA, Rich’.  The first time I received such a reply, I was overjoyed with a sense of value… simply being loved by a mentor.

Life Lesson #3:   Do not hesitate to express love in your communications… touching those beyond your core circle of friends and associates.

Love Ya!

Eric can be contacted at Eric@Bezko.net

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