I recently saw a story about the only billion dollar house in the world. Ironically, it's found in one of the poorest countries; India. The home, called Antilla, is a 27 story skyscraper which boasts over 400,000 square foot of living space. It includes it's own ballroom, 9 elevators, a 4 story open garden, 3 helo pads, a private theater and 600 staff to keep it all running. It is owned by the fifth wealthiest man in the world; Mukesh Ambani.
Hey, when your estimated worth is 29 Billion dollars, plunking down a cool billion to buy your own private island in downtown Mumbai sounds like a bargain! It's extravagant to say the least and one might be inclined to be amazed or even jealous of such exorbitance except for one tiny thing: the building is surrounded by millions of people living in the Indian slums. It's opulence casts a shadow on those people living on $2 a day.
It's really easy to look at that house, shake your head and say, "that is so over the top." It is. Who needs a 6 level parking lot because you have so many vehicles that anything less would be considered unrealistic? How could this family be so selfish when they are surrounded by heart-wrenching poverty? Can you imagine how that billion dollars could change the lives of the poor? It could provide housing, food, medical treatment, clothing. Ambani could literally save their lives. How could he be so selfish?
Nobody needs a billion dollar house. The name "Ambani" could be a new term in the dictionary.
Ambani, noun, : "a flagrant over-indulge at the expense of the needy."
It's easy to judge yet so often I indulge in so many luxuries when I too am surrounded by people in need.
Here's the perfect example: I want to buy new office furniture. I want to drive to IKEA so badly and pick out a trendy new desk, a few accessories, a rug, etc... and fix up our office space.
I don't really need to. I just want to. Because I can. Sure, I could buy 10 shares of a well that brings water to 28,000 people or send 30 kids to school for entire year or provide $12,000 worth of life saving medication with that $1000 I want to spend on my office but I REALLY WANT A NEW DESK! It would be so pretty and I could sit there once a week and go through my mail and pay bills and that's more important, right? Right?
Most of us do this kind of thing every day. We buy clothes, cars and houses we don't need. We over-spend on vacations, we spoil ourselves. Sure, it might not be a billion dollar house with 3 helo pads and an entire floor dedicated to fitness equipment but it's still selfish indulgence.
I'm not saying that we should never buy anything for ourselves or spend a little from time to time. It's dangerous to go to any extreme but its really important to take note when our "wants" cross over into "needs."
When you start really believing and justifying that you "need" a new car every year or you "need" to take your kids to Disney twice a year, you "need" to get new floors put in when yours are still in pretty good shape, and you do this at the expense of generously giving to the poor, it might be time to ask yourself: Am I pulling an Ambani?