Every faith tradition has a teaching about how gratitude balances out greed. One of my favorites can be found in Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche's book The Way of the Buddha. In it he writes, "At the time of Buddha Sakyamuni, a monk found himself in possession of a marvelous jewel that granted any wish — all the gold, silver, and precious stones you could ask for. The lucky owner thought: 'I am a monk and have no need of all these riches. Better to give this jewel to a poor person. But there are so many of them, why favor one over another? Buddha is omniscient. He will tell me whom to give it to.' So, going to Buddha, he explained his difficulty and asked him to designate a fitting recipient. Buddha Sakyamuni recommended that he give it to the king of that area, a very wealthy and powerful monarch. The monk made the offering, and the king accepted it, inquiring about the reason for the gift. The monk explained, 'I thought I should give this gem to a poor person, but not knowing whom to choose, I asked Buddha Sakyamuni. He advised me to bring it to you.' "
"The king thought that was quite strange, since there probably was no one on earth richer than he. So he went to Buddha Sakyamuni for an explanation. The king asked why Buddha had chosen him when the monk had asked which poor person would best be provided for with the gem.
"'It's true,' Buddha said. 'Without a doubt, there is no one wealthier than you in the world; but there is also no doubt that there is no greed as great as yours. That is why I told the monk to give you the gem.' "
As I read this it reminded me of the importance of giving away those things I no longer use or cherish. Giving unto others without expectation provides us with a source of spiritual well being and wealth. It is this giving that enables the poor to say they are rich.