Generous to Whom?

This is the final part on my series on why we should provide the Bible for people who are poor and suffering in some way.

One of the things that people sometimes say is that they want to give money for something that has an immediate impact and that they don’t want to wait a long time before they see a result. Now, I think that it is very important that when people give money to a charity, they can be sure that the money is well used and that it goes to the purpose for which it was given. If you are going to be generous, you want to know that your money is being well spent – fair enough.

However, we have to be careful that we are not giving our money in order to make ourselves feel good. If we want to see quick results for our money rather than a long term-sustainable impact – we should be questioning our motives for giving in the first place.

It is all too easy for donors (in any field) to fall into the trap that the woman in this piece fell into:

… she and her husband had recently traveled to Cambodia with their kids in order to give the teenagers an understanding of poverty and their responsibility to help others less fortunate than themselves. I was interested.

When planning the trip, she explained, her kids had immediately dismissed Habitat for Humanity and other “traditional” groups because they wanted an authentic, personal experience. Prior to the trip, they’d gone online and researched places they could go and things they could do.  They’d found a small village that was building a library and some houses and that needed materials and books. “Perfect,” she thought. Emails were exchanged, arrangements were made.

But, she then went on to explain, the trip had all but been ruined by the fact that when they arrived the locals took the books and materials they’d brought and proceeded to build the structures themselves. Her kids, who had planned what they wanted to do and how they would direct the building process, were sidelined by locals who took over and did all the work themselves. Her kids were invited to participate, but they weren’t allowed to lead “their” projects. The goal of the trip, she complained, had been for her kids to feel how they could make a difference and this experience hadn’t provided that at all. “Overall, it left a bad taste in their mouths for future volunteer work,” she concluded. (Read the whole piece here. Thanks to Mark for the link.)

Giving money to Bible translation, Church planting, discipleship ministry or teaching people to fish may not give the same warm fuzzy feeling that you get from feeding people for a day – but giving isn’t about making you feel good. Is it?

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.