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Truly CharitableJune 14, 2013
One of our pressing questions my wife and I have is; what are people doing with all the money they raise. One of the big fundraisers is to raise money to fight cancer. As we see promotions all over TV, my wife and I have often said, what do they do with all the money and how much of it gets to cancer research and the sick. Every once in awhile, we get a professional fundraiser from some charity calling for donations and we say, sorry not interested, I already gave. It seems today everyone wants your money for a cause. You cannot even go into Canadian Tire without feeling guilty for not buying a box of cookies or an apple. They even spread this guilt to the middle of the street when a boot is handed to you while you are driving. (Not against it just making the point that it is everywhere: okay a little against it.) So after watching a report on CNN about some charities who are giving back about 4% and keeping the rest, I think our question was answered. This has always been an age-old problem with charities. How much actually gets to the people in need. Sure the CEO needs a whopping salary and expense package and high-end vehicle and and and because it is for the cause and is justified. Really I ask?
Well sadly the church also fits into the charity category and we need to be very careful. If Jesus is our example of leadership unto the poor and the needy and afflicted, he either did not know what he was doing or there are a whole lot of people doing it wrong. Is our effectiveness about the same as some of these charities are giving back? The church can take in a lot of money but how much of it really gets back to those who need it. The modern church has gone back to the cathedral mentality and say, look what my hands have made as if the building is the church. Most of the money that comes in goes to building costs and then next it goes to some very high staffing wages. Unfortunately the church has emulated the culture once again and everything becomes about the almighty dollar.
Let me make this clear I am not talking about us as a charity getting into the community with our programs. The Salvation Army has been very successful at this but the church itself is failing. In many cases as is the case in our town the thrift store exists but there is no church. So we have to ask are they really changing the community? Sadly for most churches the focus is on the budget and raising money. I have never been one to ask for money so when we started our church I did not send out fundraising letters. In our church we stress that the budget is not the goal, tithing wholeheartedly is. When we tithe according to God’s word we will not have money issues. We are then successful when that happens not when we reach the budget. So if we are a charity, what is the best way to reach the community with the most effectiveness? Well there are a thousand ideas, new moms, old moms, singles, soup kitchens, finances and on and on we could go but is that really the answer for the community. When Jesus walked into a town he turned it upside down. He came in preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins healed the sick and the community was transformed because of power. For us to be an effective charity we need to be like Christ. Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” As a church we are praying for our own revival and revival of the land. When we see the results of Matthew 9 we then can say we are a truly effective charitable organism. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”