Have you ever heard of the Giving Pledge? I first came across it a week ago in an article about Warren Buffett giving away $2.9 Billion. If you don’t know about Mr. Buffett, he’s one of the wealthiest people in the world. I’m sure you deduced that by the figure. The entire article and the concept of the pledge hooked me.
In simple terms, it’s the idea that the super rich would give away all or the majority of their wealth in their lifetime. Wow! I had learned of people in the past who had done similar things like Andrew Carnegie who gave away nearly all his wealth to charitable causes. He was, at one point, the wealthiest man in America and quite possibly the world. Past and present, the idea is astonishing.
I know what some may be thinking, “if I had billions of dollars I’d be fine giving it away too.” I admit I had that instinct at first too. But the question becomes, would you really? I have found that the more money and possessions one acquires in life, the more precious they become. I don’t think any of us should be too quick to assume we’d be super generous if we were billionaires. I was told once that I should not presume to think that I’d be generous if I had more, if I’m not generous with what I already have. I think there is tremendous truth in that!
I’ve caught myself praying before that God would give me more of an income so I could give more away. I had to start searching my own heart and take inventory of how I was already giving. I have known many people who said that they’d start giving once they reached “__” point of success or income in their lives. I think that is a fatal mistake that we make far too often. If only I had “__” then I’d give. That’s a thought that has plagued people for ages.
Truth be told, we don’t have to be super wealthy to give lavishly. To give a lot is not merely defined in terms of $, but also in the cost. By cost i am not speaking of money necessarily but of the risk or sacrifice on our part. In the bible, there is recorded a story of a woman who gave, not billions, but rather all she had. We find it in Luke chapter 21. We probably wouldn’t ever see a CNN headline about someone like her but Jesus commends her for giving more than anyone. She gave all she had! How many of us can say we’ve done that? Most people I know struggle with tithing 10% or making donations that would cause them to give up a few Starbucks trips that month.
My point is, I have to let go of what I have, and I’m guessing so do the majority of people living in a society of affluence. Jesus said that we will either love and serve Him, or we will love and serve money. Another piece of good advice I heard once was, “if I’m not willing to use something I have to benefit others, than I shouldn’t have it.” Sounds bold but I believe it’s solid counsel.
Most people who read this are probably far richer than they think. But even if they aren’t, they have much they can give. We have time, money, things, encouragement, love, truth, and hope. And we cannot afford to be stingy with any of it.
The giving pledge Has inspired me to want to make one of my own. A pledge to give more of my life and possessions and money. A pledge to share my blessings in life with others. A pledge to give out of my abundance or out of my lack. I will probably never give billions of dollars away, but I certainly hope to give all of my life away to the glory of Christ. After all, God set the example for giving when He clothed Himself in human form and sacrificed Himself on a cross for the sins of mankind. That was the ultimate giving pledge that He had made ages ago. May it motivate us to pledge our lives to sharing His truth, His love, and His blessings to a world in need! Will you join me?
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.