Let me start by start by confessing that I am writing this to myself as much as to anyone else, and particularly to those of us who call ourselves Christians. It covers the challenging topic of giving money. Often we say, or hear others say something like, “I won’t give to that charity. You can’t support them all, can you?” It sounds reasonable, but is it correct? Christians believe that Jesus Christ gave everything for us. He gave his life that we might have a rich and satisfying life. We believe that there is guidance in the Bible on how to live such a life. Here are some passages:
“Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” “When you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
The message appears to be that yes, we can support them all. I was discussing this with my wife after looking at the distribution of income on an earlier post. When would it be OK to say no, we are giving enough? I suggested that perhaps it was OK when our income net of giving was that of the lowest on the curve – the bottom 10%. If we expect people on the bottom 10% to live full and satisfying lives on their income, shouldn’t we be willing to do the same? Elsewhere in the bible is states that: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” So how does that fit with “sell all you have and give the money to the poor”? Perhaps it means that if we are unable to give cheerfully to anyone who asks then we need to work on our heart. Maybe we need to teach ourselves to love more. As well as listening to the advice on how to maximise our income, invest in schemes to give high interest and avoid paying tax, we need to be hearing that we can manage on less. We can still maximise our income, but to give more away instead of saving it for ourselves. See also my post “The Wealthy are Redeemable” Yes, I am sure I am being hypocritical in writing this. But that does not make what I have written wrong. Let’s all ponder this in our hearts and see what we decide to do.
If you want some ideas, try these links:
feel free to add your own in the comments. I’ll add them here when I get time.