Wealth (money, land, intelligence, talent, etc) is unevenly distributed and with wealth comes the choice of what to do with it. There are many options but if we follow God, it’s impossible to be wrong.
Today I’d like to look at a couple of ways that we can give back – money and effort. After all, because wealth isn’t limited to money, there are many ways that we can give from our wealth to help others.
Additionally, I’d like to focus on two philosophies and look at our options to give based on those two philosophies.
- We should give daily needs to those who are most in need.
- We should help others so that they can “support themselves”.
In these, we find balance between James writing that if we see a brother or sister in need and send them away with nothing but a blessing, we have done nothing and Paul’s statement that if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat.
There are options for both of these. To help those who cannot help themselves and also to give the dignity of work to those who are able.
My wife and I give to those who cannot provide for themselves through Compassion International and Mission of Mercy. Both of these charities provide food, medical help, and education to children in deep poverty.
Maybe that’s not your cup of tea. Maybe God has called you to help entrepreneurs in need start a business. My sister-in-law recently introduced the family to Five Talents, a group who grant micro-loans for people to start businesses. And, by helping create business, they also help create more jobs. In fact, one of their Micro-preneurs recently won an award.
What about effort? I don’t have money to give.
Well, there are opportunities there too.
Wanting to provide food for those in need, my wife and I worked with Feed My Starving Children over Christmas – a group who partners with missionaries to provide food for children in impoverished nations. They use missionaries because sometimes local governments won’t distribute food to the poor – they keep it for the wealthy. And they feed children because the children need it the most and completely lack the ability to provide for themselves. It cost us a couple of hours and we helped provide something like 400,000 meals. How cool is that?
In the past, though, I have also wanted to help people improve their lives. I’ve been involved with Community Servants, a local charity in Smyrna, TN that is connected to my church and led by a good friend of mine. Specifically, I was involved in helping teach English in their adult education program. And there are more opportunities than that – housing repair and maintenance, after-school toring for children, and English classes, as well as job-skill and job-search training.
How can I choose what to do?
Well, here’s the best I have.
- Open up your eyes so God can show you the needs around you.
- Look for opportunities to live Scripture.
- Pray and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- And yourself ask myself a question – “What is my motivation?”.
I find that if I’m looking for what I can do, if I’m focusing on me, it might not be God’s leading. But if I’m looking for where God can use me to accomplish his purposes, it’s probably God.
Honestly, if we just try to walk with God and allow him to direct us, I doubt that we can be wrong. After all, it’s not about what we can do – nothing we do out of our own will lasts. Rather, it’s about what God can do – we just get to be a part of what he’s doing.