CHARITY THINK got me thinking about Non-Profit sector funding and how that works for Life Impact. Have these last couple posts stimulated your thinking in any way? Here are some of my reflections on Dan’s reflections before I let this subject go.
The Puritans get blamed for a lot in our promiscuous culture. It seems they are often a scapegoat for those who don’t want any restrictions on their lives in any way, shape, or form. In the case of earning money and handling it, the Puritans may be on to something essential: It is human nature to justify our personal materialism, and very difficult to sacrifice what we have for a higher cause.
I struggle with this. I have internal and mental mechanisms that determine how much I’m willing to give away and how much I justify keeping for myself. Yet the standard for discipleship is what Jesus said to the rich young ruler in Mark 10:21-22, “Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.” And that’s the standard it seems all need to wrestle with in relationship to what we have, whether in business or the non-profit sectors.
Origin of Wealth: I come from the Western Michigan area of the USA. That was, and still is to some extent, Dutch country. The Dutch were normally good business people, frugal, and fiscally conservative. I’m very thankful for the generosity we’ve experienced during our 45 years of ministry through donors from Western Michigan. Because they made it, they could give it.
At the same time, there was a saying in our community that many believed: “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.” Unfortunatley this idea can lead to autonomy of life and giving divorced from a Biblical view of discipleship. It can also create a pride in one’s own accomplishments.
The truth of wealth is something King David revealed to us in 1 Chronicles 29:12 ” . . . Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.” (NLT)
The Biblical truth is that God actually helps those who surrender all that they are and have to Him, and realize that nothing they have comes by their own hands but by the grace of God.
- Where do the skills and abilities come from to make a good living?
- Where does the health and strength come from to get up everyday and work?
- Who made the decision that I would be born in a place where I could excel?
These only exist by the grace and will of God. Yes, life is a partnership with God, but we must realize our limited, yet spectacular place in that partnership.
And in Western Michigan many of the business owners were surrendered to the Lord and that principle. Perhaps in our secular society today, as we have moved away from Puritanism, we have lost some generosity as well. Why doesn’t the percentage of giving in the social sector not increase from 2% to 3% this year?