Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why the Wealthy Don't Give More

One e-mail has remianed in my inbox all week because I wasn't sure what to do with it. In Bob Buford's latest e-newsletter he deals with the topic of Why the Wealthy Don't Give More. It's very helpful, especially for his "half-timer" or successful over-50 audience.

His main takeaway is that the really rich are aware of three main risks to giving their money to charities. These risks are Fear – of not having enough, Failure – even embarrassment, and Doing more harm than good.

I think he's on to something. In my years serving as a pastor a pastor in Hawaii, I had a chance to meet many Christian men and women who had been entrusted with wealth beyond my imagination. I feel that after years of struggling and agonizing over how to relate to, encourage, and disciple those who have great wealth, I still don't have the answers.

However, I feel I learned a few lessons I'll share with you...

1. Treat them as individuals, as fellow believers, and as equals.
There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28 (HCSB)
2. Beware of asking them for money every time there is a need in your ministry.
  • First, you become dependant on this person instead of on God.
  • Second, you may give this individual too much power. You will be tempted to listen to them instead of the Holy Spirit.

3. When they give, allow them see the "Kingdom Impact" of their giving.

  • Write a thank you letter or e-mail detailing the use of the resources.
  • Send pictures of individuals impacted by their generosity

4. Don't become enamored with their lifestyle. Recall Jesus' words in the Parable of the Soils...

Others are sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, but the worries of this age, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19 (HCSB)

Bob Buford is author of Finishing Well. You can visit his website activeenergy.net

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