Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Clarifying & A Giving Top Ten

I never want any of you to feel as if I have figured out *the* right way to do things- especially when it comes to giving.  I appreciate the kind ways some of you pointed that out in my post a couple weeks back.  God has given us each our own "soft spots" that help determine how we give and who we give to.  If we all had a passion for one organization or means of giving, many would be lacking in the other need categories!

With that said, this is a blog where I chronicle my thoughts on how our family feels lead to live and give.  My hope is that it will inspire you to be deliberate about how you live and give.  I may quote scripture that speaks to me in my current stage of my faith journey.  My hope is that you will seek out the scriptures to guide you in yours.

Blogging can be tricky because sharing your experience can so easily come across as presenting *the* way to do things.  My goal is not to convince you of anything, but to inspire you to seek out Truth (through scripture and prayer- I'm not apologizing for this piece- it is central to all we believe and do) and follow God's leading in your own life in your own way.  Oh, the many, many gifts we all represent! 

I wanted to especially attempt to clarify this today because I want to talk about ways to give effectively to the poor.  Here again, I hesitate to share personal giving preferences because I don't want anyone to believe our way is the right way.  So, instead, I wanted to share a resource that I came across recently that I thought was very helpful.

There are so many Bible references calling us to help the poor of this world- a quick search in your concordance or online will leave you swimming in them.  The one that send chills up my spine is this one...

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."  Ezekiel 16:49

Arrogant, overfed and unconcerned?  Um, yep.  If we're feeling super honest, that hits pretty close to home for many of us.

So we know we should give (our time as well as monies), but with all the different organizations out there petitioning us for our dollars and energies, how do we know which are the most effective ways to make a difference, particularly for the poor in developing countries?  Well, last month's issue of Christianity Today looked at that.  Here's what Bruce Wydick wrote....

"So what are the best ways to help the poor in developing countries?

To answer this question, I polled top development economists who specialize in analyzing development programs. I asked them to rate, from 0 to 10, some of the most common poverty interventions to which ordinary people donate their money, in terms of impact and cost-effectiveness per donated dollar.

Sixteen researchers responded to the survey. They are from Cornell, Duke, Yale, the University of Maryland, UC-Berkeley, Stanford, George Washington, UC-Santa Cruz, the University of Minnesota, Brandeis, Michigan State, Tufts, and the World Bank. Of the respondents, five are members of the Association of Christian Economists. And they showed remarkable consensus in their ratings. Virtually none of the highly rated poverty interventions received low marks from any of the responders. Likewise, virtually none of the lowly rated programs received high marks."

Here are the Top Ten, listed in order of most effectiveness...

1) Get clean water to rural villages.

2) Fund de-worming treatments for children.

3) Provide mosquito nets.

4) Sponsor a child.

5) Give wood-burning stoves.

6) Give a microfinance loan.

7) Fund reparative surgeries.

8) Donate a farm animal.

9) Drink fair-trade coffee.

10) Give a kid a laptop.

To read the article in it's entirety, go here.

Interesting, huh?  It is my opinion that making each of these strategies even more effective is to pair them with the Gospel.  If we can find organizations that serve the poor in the name of Jesus Christ we're introducing a hope that will transform their lives forever, no matter how destitute they are (I talk more about this here).

Before I sign off, I do want to highlight one organization that is near and dear to my heart- Compassion International.  If you'd like a little window into our passion for this cause (including some quotes from and pictures of our sponsored kids), you can visit my Compassion page here.  That said, there are other wonderful, Christian child-sponsorship programs out there as well, so browse around and see where God leads you if you're interested in sponsoring a child.

I hope this list is helpful and inspiring.  May we use our blessings to be blessings to others.

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  1. Thank you so much for this list! We, too, sponsor children through Compassion but it is good to see this list of ten ways we can help the most. I really enjoy your blog and appreciate the way that you share so openly and honestly from your heart. I have five children (age 8, 7, 5, 4, and 2) and am trying hard to teach them how important it is for us as Christians to give generously. I plan on sharing this list with them, to get them thinking about all the ways we can choose to give to help others in need. Thanks again for all you share!

  2. Thanks for talking about this! One of the books my sending agency had me read before leaving for the Dominican Republic was "When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself" by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett, which talks about appropriate, effective ways to help those in need. It begins with the premise that we are all of us poor, because we all are broken and separated from God. When we start from this perspective, we don't view people as 'The Poor' or as projects, but as created in the image of God, with the same purpose of giving Him glory that all of us have.

    I'll try and include the Amazon link. Be forewarned... this book may step on your toes!

  3. This is so interesting, and timely for us as we've been trying to make sure our giving is done appropriately and where it can be best used.

  4. Me and the hubs recently became involved with the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. You can sponsor children OR seniors which I thought was cool. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has dealt with them.

  5. Thank you for the list ,I barely have enough to give but I do count as giving what I give to my own. My grandson will need a laptop for collage so out of a fixed income I will provide as I always do do.My mom's favorite saying although she woke early and walked to mass every morning for the 5 am service was " charity begins at home" and was so true for her .She had 14 children. But I know you must struggle at times your self and you find enough to give ,I know ,I have been recipient of your giving as in a gift for my grandchildren,you will certainly have a special place in Heaven ,but like my BIL ( who sends me my daily prayers ,other than my own) said it wasn't him it was God! Amen

  6. Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing knowledge with us. This site is fantastic. I always find great knowledge from it.thanks.


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