Let me get personal with you about your giving and my giving as we conclude this series on Donors and Their New Adventures in Giving.
When I read about Toby Ord, the Oxford prof who made headlines in England recently for his pledge to give away a million pounds in his lifetime, my first thought was, “Wow–I bet he’s the only philosophy prof in the world named Toby.”
My second thought was slightly deeper.
Professor Ord calculated the amount he is likely to give away to charity in his lifetime.
Have you ever done that?
Now let me hasten to note two important things:
- I think the amount someone gives to charity is irrelevant. I think the percentage of income someone gives to charity is key–along with the comprehensiveness of the causes to which they give (i.e., are they giving only to their area of passion, or does their giving reflect the breadth of God’s concern as identified in the Scriptures?) and the maturity reflected in their giving.
- Luke 12:20 keeps bouncing through my mind as I write this. Bear with me for a sec; I’m after a thought exercise here, not a personal legacy seminar.
So my question remains:
Have you ever calculated the amount you are on track to give to charity from now to the end of your lifetime, should Jesus tarry and you tarry and your income tarry at about the same level it’s currently tarrying at?
The reason I ask is that even for most ordinary Westerners, given our comparatively high standards of living, it’s amazing how close we will come to giving away a million dollars–or, in some cases, considerably more–in our lifetimes simply by being faithful to basic biblical giving principles.
That being the case, is it fair for me to ask:
What are you seeking to accomplish–what are you called to accomplish–through that million-odd dollars of giving…and are you on track to accomplish that? And if not, what changes are necessary to bring you on track?
I can’t shake the picture of sitting down with Jesus when it’s all said and done and having Him sift through a manila folder busting at the seams with receipts from the nonprofits to whom I’ve given. His brow is furrowed, lips pursed, as he thoughtfully reviews first one receipt and then another. He turns to me and cocks His head, pausing before He speaks. At last, He says–gently, but inquiringly:
“So I gave you a million dollars to invest for My purposes…and this is how you distributed it?”
“Um…yes, Lord,” I reply. “I gave when people shared really compelling needs and proved themselves credible to accomplish impactful outcomes.”
He stares at me blankly. Blinks. Then returns to perusing the receipts.
And how will you invest the million dollars He’s given to you to accomplish His purposes?