Monday, August 16, 2010

How To Be Rich

Generosity… I think it’s a characteristic we’d all like to be known by. Yet, going from a lifestyle of giving nothing away to giving something away can sometimes be a big leap. We have to hurdle such obstacles as trusting the organization or person we are giving to. We hear so much about abuse and mismanagement, it can make a person justifiably leery. Or, we get blocked by the discouragement that our gifts, whatever they might be, would be too small or insignificant to make any real difference. Another high wall to climb is our own financial situation. How can we give to others when we are barely paying our own bills or are buried in interest rates and debt? Still, we see generosity as noble and honorable, and definitely something that “rich people” should practice.

You’re right, rich people should definitely practice generosity. Did you know that you are rich? Go ahead, see for yourself. Click on this link to find out how your income compares with the rest of the world. Global Rich List Surprised? Are you in the top 5% or higher? Phenomenal perspective, isn’t it? So, how does your personal generosity (the way you give of your time, talent, and resources) reflect your wealthy position in the world?

Now before you start getting nervous, I have no intention of making anyone feel guilty. Rather, I believe one of the biggest reasons people don’t give more often to more worthy causes is simply that they don’t know where to begin. I have seen first-hand how hard it can be to volunteer at a local shelter or even the library. I have personally called local non-profit agencies and left multiple messages letting them know I had a group of people willing to come and give their time for whatever they needed, only to have my phone calls go unreturned. It can make you feel like they might not really need your help after all. So, what’s a person to do? Push hard, look deeper, and cut through that red tape!

For as many organizations that unknowingly make it difficult to participate in their cause, there are just as many making it easy. At Great Lakes, we encourage our Growth Groups to organize their own service projects and we’ve seen amazing results! Everything from care packages to soldiers, to Easter baskets for local families in need, to simple food drives. Just this weekend I had the opportunity to participate in one of the most fun service projects yet. A few of our women's groups pulled together to have ourselves a party. We called it “Ladies Night: A Benefit for Care Net” where we chose to support a local organization, hoping to raise funds and supplies they need to help support women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. Here is the story we shared at the party as a part of learning more about this great program…

All it took was one Evite, one planning meeting with my friends Eden & AnnaLisa, and a little initiative, and we had all we needed. We just did what women do best, socialize, eat great food and have some drinks and somehow, with less than 30 of us, we were able to raise roughly $2,000 worth of supplies and cash to hand directly to Care Net and their Earn While You Learn program.

These women generously gave everything from cribs and bassinets, to diapers and baby wash, to brand new clothes and gently used hand-me-downs. More than that, we were all inspired and many of the women have expressed even greater desire and creativity for ways we can do more! Amazing!

We know one thing for certain… it is easier to give when we know what we have received. The pursuit of “more” is an elusive mirage, and the reality is that we very likely have all we need.

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. – 1 Timothy 6:17-18

With that perspective, I dare you to invest yourself in just one of thousands of worthy causes. Why don’t you spend your coffee money this week on a new CD that could result in lowering the global poverty rate?

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