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Money And The Difference Between Philanthropy And Generosity

This past weekend I listened to Dan Deeble of the great Heartland Community Church in Olathe, KS discuss the differences between philanthropy and Biblical generosity.  Here are some quotes and principles that if utilized can transform your life.

  • 10% (of his employees) generally don’t measure up and we need to relocate.  80% are on track.  The remaining 10% are the all-stars.” – Jack Welch
  • Welch on those 10% all-stars – “It’s people that are looking to advance others around them…A generosity of spirit.”
  • “It’s the type of person that will take on criticism and deflect praise.” – Jim Collins on Level 5 leaders.
  • Generosity is important to our culture.
  • There’s power when people practice generosity.  There’s influence.
  • Anytime someone moves out in generosity it should always be praised and commended.

There’s a difference between philanthropy and generosity.

  1. Everything that we’ve got comes from God.  He is the giver of everything and owns everything.  We are managers, stewards, of that.  We say “God, where do You want this to go?”
  2. Gain all you can.  Save all you can.  Give all you can.  All that we have is given us by God since we have been intrusted with these to use them to give Him glory.” – John Wesley
  3. Philanthropy means “friend of humanity.”  Helping others with OUR (not God’s) possessions.
  4. Andrew Carnegie utilized Social Darwinism with his giving – “I have amassed my fortunes because I am the fittest.”  Through this he developed a term “Scientific Philanthropy“.  Furthermore he said “The best means of benefiting the community is placing ladders in which the aspiring can rise.”
  5. Philanthropy is focused on ROI.  Biblical generosity is focused on a response to God.  Biblical generosity is we give because we’ve been given.
  6. In philanthropy only some are worth it.  In Biblical generosity, everyone is worth it.  God wants us to care for widows, single mothers, orphans, immigrants, etc…  Just care for them.  Who wants to make value judgements on people when we’ve all been made in the image of God.
  7. Philanthropy is an economic transition.  There isn’t any additional care involved.  Biblical generosity says this is about a life.  This is about your time, your talent, your treasure, your thoughts.  This is about your life.
  8. Philanthropy has made the focus on society.  The Biblical model of generosity has put the church at the epicenter of the world.

Facts About The Church

  1. There is a biblical precedence for giving to your local church.
  2. The church has been pushed out but we have also pushed ourselves out because we’ve made it about technique.  We’ve made it self-serving.  We’ve brought it on ourselves.  We need to view the church as the redemptive vehicle.
  3. Philanthropy says you become a philanthropist through your net worth.  Biblical generosity says you grow through your faith.
  4. It is impossible to grow in Jesus and not grow in generosity.

The Nudge Fund

  1. A Nudge Fund is when you put money aside each month to one day be used when God nudges you.  This allows you to make a wrong thing right or encourage someone.
  2. Then develop a Nudge Journal to see how God has used you.
  3. God’s values have already been stated.  We are to give in response to that.
  4. The generous life says we are in to live in community and in response to one another.

What does Generosity look like?

  1. It’s a life.  It’s time, talent, treasure, and thoughts.
  2. We grow toward and beyond tithing to your local church.
  3. “There are three conversions in a person’s life.  Your head, your heart, and then your checkbook.” – Martin Luther
  4. “Money is an exact index to a person’s character.” – Richard Halverson

God put the onus of responsibility for generosity on the local church.  Dallas Willard says “This aching world is waiting for the people explicitly identified with Christ to be through and through the people He intended them to be.”

Simple question – Are you the person in the area of generosity that God intended you to be?

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Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.