My last resolution is to explore, consider, hash out, and plan out for 2015 how we as a family are doing with giving. Not giving of time but with monetary donations. Afterall, one is born into this world with nothing materially and when one dies, it has famously been said, “You can’t take it with you!”
In 2014, a former youth minister who served at First Christian Church of Florissant when we were members of that church,Titus Benton(he now serves as a youth miniser at Current Christian Church in Katy, TX)wrote a thought-provoking book and a spirtually convicting book, titled Grip: Let Loose, Dig Deep, & Take Hold. To me it was challenging in the ways it caused me to evaluate how my husband and I spend our family’s income, and how we could do more with what we are given to help others in this world who are less fortunate than our family.
We Americans know the names: Rockefeller, Edison, Carnegie, Ford, Du Pont, Vanderbilt, Morgan-surnames from some of the wealthiest families America has produced. Nowadays, one would probably add Buffet, Gates, Jobs, Cuban, and a steady stream of countless others. We, in the middle-class, think of these folks as the wealthy. However, and I found this eye-opening from reading Grip, how does my wealth stand up when compared to the World’s? According to the World’s Economic Standards, due to our family having a house, vehicles, husband’s job, ability to purchase food, clothing, fuel, we are in the top 1% of the richest in the world. So, technically, we could add our surname to the list I compiled earlier in this paragraph!
We all know about the suffering in this world: natural disasters that hit without warning, such as the horrible earthquake that hit Haiti, or the Tsunami that devastated the lives of many in Indonesia, the sicknesses that run rampant especially in third world countries, people who are starving, who don’t have access to clean water, people in our own country who are sick, lonely, or in prison. How often do these people and their needs cross our minds? Maybe they don’t at all, unless we hear about the latest disaster on the news. What can the typical American do about these horrible problems?
I would simply suggest that A. Find a charity of your choice that seeks to deal with a problem that you want to see gone. B. With the help of the internet, you can find out how the charities you are interested in donating to use their funds that they receive; how much goes to the actual work of defeating the problem? How much money is going to overhead costs, like tv commericals and the CEO’s paycheck? C. Examine your monthly expenditures. After the mortgage, insurance, utilitiy bills, school fees, food, gas have been set aside, I would challenge you to go over the things your family buys each month that aren’t needs for survival. I’ll pick on one expenditure, Starbucks. I am not a fan of their coffee as I find it too strong, and I also think they overcharge, but if you decided to not go there for a month, and set that money aside that you’d normally spend there, at the end of that month, you could send that money to a charity.
I would also get the kids involved, if you have kids, and make this a family project. If we want the future generations to care about the less fortunate in this world, we parents have to lead by example. Let the kids brainstorm about other ways to save money up for a month such as no restaurant visits or no visits to the movie theatre for a month, and then put that saved money towards another charity.
So, this, my last resolution, is a bit of a challenge, a bit of something for you to consider. For a thought-provoking read, I heartily recommend ordering the book Grip: Let Loose, Dig Deep, & Take Hold and you can do so through Amazon. For those of the Christian faith, are you living out your faith by helping others or are you just turning a blind eye to the needs in this world? To those who don’t claim a religious faith at all, I’ll close out with a good quote by John Bunyan(1628-1688), which was also used in Grip:”You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”