Give and You Shall Receive
A sermon was given in my local church recently, about giving. The biblical basis for this is called tithing and is found in many places in the Old Testament, and it says that we should give 10% of your income to the church (although biblical scholars think the tithe may actually have been much more than this over the years). In the New Testament, there are no direct instructions to tithe, but to give generously to those in need. Now, the minister at my church has not preached on this for a long time and although it can be an uncomfortable topic and indeed can even be a divisive one, he is right to remind our church that the work it does, which we all want to see continuing, has a cost and that cost has to be met somehow – money really doesn’t grow on trees apparently!
He mentioned a friend of his who told him that he had set up a standing order to a charity, some 35 years ago and had not increased it since day one, and of course the value of that donation in real terms had plummeted over the decades and he had done nothing about it.
This encouraged me to think about my own giving – not just to my church but to good causes generally. My family gives money, by monthly standing order, to my church, and 2 other charities. We also give money on an ad-hoc basis; e.g for the recent Indonesian tsunami disaster. Having reviewed these, I am reasonably comfortable that we are giving the right amounts to the right places. Of course we would love to give so much more as there is so much more need in this world, both at home and abroad but as they say, every little helps.
So what about your giving? As I said, I know this topic can be a bit of a turn-off for people, but at The Bridge Trust we cannot do what we do without money and over half of the money we need has to come from the generosity of the public – our supporters.
I want to digress a little here, as I know that many of you who may read this blog are business people and indeed some will be running their own businesses, so let me put “giving” into a context that many of you will be able to empathise with.
One of the best business books I have read is called “The Go-Giver”. This book tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who, after a downturn in his last quarter yearns for success, and in search of that success he seeks advice from a mentor who introduces him to a series of “go-givers”’: a restaurateur, a CEO, a financial adviser, a broker, and the ‘Connector’ who brought them all together. These teach Joe how to open himself up to the power of giving. He learns that changing his focus from getting to giving – putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives – leads to unexpected returns – both for his business and for him personally. The book and its message brings a new relevance to “Give and you shall receive”. (Luke 6:38).
Now I appreciate that this all might sound as if I am trying to “manipulate” you into giving something or giving more to The Bridge Trust, but nothing could be further from the truth. What I am trying to do is to ask you to just open yourselves up to the fact that giving is not only good for others but it’s also good for YOU as you will get rewards as well. What those rewards may be I cannot say. Maybe it’s just a feeling that you are helping those who are less fortunate than you. Maybe it will encourage you to pay more attention to media articles about homelessness and therefore feel a connection and that you are involved in helping others in this world. Maybe you might receive something back in another way. What I do know is that whenever I have given freely to someone it has never done me any harm, only good and it would do the same for you.
The income The Bridge Trust gets from voluntary donations has dropped by almost £14,000 (13%) over this last year so we really do need your help. If you feel that you can start giving to help The Bridge Trust or help us more than you already do then please act now – before you forget. Pop a cheque in the post, send us something via on-line banking, set up a regular Standing Order – but please do help us as giving can be a real blessing – to all concerned.
I’ll finish with what my minister’s sermon reminded us of, something Winston Churchill famously said:
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”.