Tuesday, July 12, 2005


"Optimizing personal giving in the context of Third World realities"

As a Follower of Jesus, an article I read recently has prompted me to prayerfully struggle with this question:

"How would Jesus have me respond to His commands to help the poor (e.g. Matthew 25:31-46) and optimize my giving in the context of the fact that He has told us the poor will always be with us (Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:11 & John 12:8 ...3 of the 4 Gospels) and that my and global aid funds are limited and finite."

The article that prompted this question was "The Live 8 dead end" by Paul Jacob. Jacob contends that much government-sponsored world aid is ineffective because of realities in the Third World and that there is a better way.

After circulating the article, a friend pointed out that many Canadian evangelical churches, through their association, "The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC)" and numerous Christian charities were sponsoring another international aid group, "The Micah Challenge". Micah Challenge, my friend advised, encourages governments to increase their aid to the Third World.

So, I wrote Micah Challenge and EFC asking what they were doing, and were suggesting that governments do, to overcome the challenges pointed out by Jacob. (I got a helpful and informative answer from Randy Easthouse, their Canadain Facilitator. Check it our in the comments section below.)

By copies to the Canadian Bible Society, World Vision, and Opportunity International (a microcredit group), all of which I support, I commended them for their approach of dealing with individuals and by-passing governments while minimizing their administrative expenses.

Then, I was led to an article that further provoked my thinking. It was “Heroes of the Half-Measure: Christian Advocates for Government Charity" by Jordan Ballor. Ballor offers yet another perspective on the challenges of Jesus Followers in giving Biblically and effectively.

Hopefully, you will find some food for thought in these pieces as I did. What do you think about
this issue and how do you feel about what you read above? My comment section is open to you.

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