Monday, March 10, 2014

ARE YOU ON THE LEFT OR ON THE RIGHT?

Wealthy Christians might have cause to be concerned when you look as how the way the behave compares to the Bible's teachings. 
On the one hand, the country's biggest donors are giving more money to charities as the economy stabilizes. Last year, the biggest 50 donors gave a massive $7.7 billion in charitable gifts.

The bad news? That represents an increase of just 4 percent from 2012, at a time when the mega-rich are witnessing huge gains in their net worths. Total wealth for Forbes' 2013 billionaires' list jumped 17 percent from the previous year, reaching $5.4 trillion.

How the super-rich are skimping on charitable gifts
 


Mt 25: 31-46

Daily Scripture
March 10, 2014

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 
‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 


Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Warren Buffett and several others in the top 1% appear to be taking the Bible's message seriously and have actually put it into practice with the creation of the "Giving Pledge."

WHAT IS THE GIVING PLEDGE?

The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.

WHO CAN PLEDGE?

The Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires or those who would be billionaires if not for their giving.

The idea takes its inspiration from efforts in the past and at present that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds. We are inspired by the example set by millions of people who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.

Initially, the focus was on the wealthiest families and individuals in the United States. Since there have been enthusiastic responses to the Giving Pledge around the world, the pledge now includes people from a mix of countries around the world.

WHY A PLEDGE?

We hope that a group coming forward to be explicit about their intentions for giving the majority of their wealth away will help:

Inspire conversations, discussions, and action, not just about how much but also for what purposes / to what end and

Bring together those committed to this kind of giving to exchange knowledge on how to do this in the best possible way.

We live in an exciting time for philanthropy where innovative approaches and advances in technology have redefined what’s possible. Grassroots movements are proving every day how a single individual, regardless of wealth, can make a lasting impact on the lives of others.

WHY GO PUBLIC WITH A PLEDGE? 


The goal is to talk about giving in an open way and create an atmosphere that can draw more people into philanthropy.


HOW DOES THE GIVING PLEDGE WORK? 


Each family or individual who chooses to pledge will make this statement publicly, along with a statement explaining their decision to pledge.

At an annual event, those who take the pledge will come together to share ideas and learn from each other.

Throughout the year, there are opportunities for conversations that go deeper on the specific topics of interest to the group.

WHAT WILL PEOPLE PLEDGE TO?

The pledge does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations. The pledge asks only that the individual give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charitable organizations either during their lifetime or in their will.

The pledge does not solicit support for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or any other specific cause or organization. The pledge encourages signatories to find their own unique ways to give that inspire them personally and benefit society.



WILL THE GIVING PLEDGE GRANT MONEY TO ORGANIZATIONS?

Not directly. Each person who pledges makes an individual decision about which particular causes or organizations they wish to support.


HOW MUCH SHOULD PEOPLE GIVE?

Each family will decide that for themselves. The pledge asks for a commitment of a majority of their wealth. Many have and will continue to exceed it.


ONCE SOMEONE PLEDGES, HOW WILL YOU MAKE SURE THEY FOLLOW THROUGH?

The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract.



HOW DID THE IDEA COME ABOUT?  

The idea of the Giving Pledge came from the ideas and input generated in many great conversations that Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett had with other philanthropists in the U.S. and abroad.


HOW LONG WILL THE PLEDGE LAST?

Our hope is that the effort will continue for generations to come.



Sadly the number of those who pledge is much lower than those who hoard, evade taxes, and simply flaunt their excesses with little concern or regard for others; very much as those described on the left of their maker.

What puzzles me is why. What is it these people think they are accomplishing by hoarding their wealth rather than putting it to good use for the "greater" good?

People like Gates, Buffett, Zuckerburg, and a few others seem to be getting along just fine living up to this pledge.

I'd really like to hear from those who think this is a bad idea, along with the reasons why. The man upstairs might also be interested in hearing from them.