Blog: Loyal and Sacrificial

Penelope Burk, philanthropy expert and president of Cignus Applied Research, recently noted:

“One of the interesting differences between actively religious donors and all others is that even in an economic downturn, they tend to stay loyal to causes.  They take down their purchases to support their philanthropy. They volunteer more, and volunteer more in positions of high-level responsibility, such as sitting on boards of directors.”

Did you get that?

 “[The actively religious] stay loyal to causes.  They take down their purchases to support their philanthropy.”

There was no blimp in the sky announcing that He would be observing donations that day.  But there He was–deliberately seated in full view of the offering box–people watching.  The people came, with their gifts.  Large gifts.  In fact, many people with many large gifts.  It was a great day for fundraising.

But the many with their large gifts didn’t catch His attention.  It was a woman who gave next to nothing that led Him to say:

“…this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

It’s a fact that money helps pay the bills around here.  It’s a fact that donations typically drop during the summertime.  It’s a fact that it was disheartening to have to cancel a fundraiser that was to be held tomorrow.

But God knows our needs, and He knows the hearts of those who give to His work.  He knows that the woman who lives alone on a fixed income and sends a check for $5.00 every few months is giving as sacrificially as she can.  And that young family?  The one who could be saving for a college fund or a rainy day fund or a nice vacation?  They’re giving just as sacrificially when they write a check for several thousand dollars.

You might say that they took down their purchases to support their philanthropy.

He dropped out of school at the age of 14.  He took jobs as a welder, wood cutter, farm hand, miner, and carpenter.  He eventually got into the earthmoving business, building a company that engineered and manufactured earthmoving equipment, using designs and technology that was far beyond its era.  He held hundreds of patents.  Today he’s considered to be the world’s greatest inventor of earth moving heavy equipment.

He considered himself to be “God’s businessman,” and it’s surmised that when he sold his company as a multi-millionaire in 1953, he gave away 90% of the proceeds and lived on the remaining 10%.  This man–R.G. LeTourneau–said, “I shovel it out and God shovels it back, but God has a bigger shovel.”

You might say that he took down his purchases to support his philanthropy.

We can’t all give the same amount, but Scripture is clear:  Jesus applauds the one who gives sacrificially.  LeTourneau had this perspective:  “The question is not how much of my money I give to God, but rather how much of God’s money I keep for myself.”

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