The vast majority of donations come in from middle-class-to-poor people who give twenty-five to thirty dollars a month and often even less. The vast majority comes in from this class of citizen, and not just in number of people giving, but in number of dollars given. Sure, I have people on our list giving hundreds. Some churches dropped four figures on our project, but most of our donations stream in every month from faithful people like you and me whose “little acts done with great love will change the world.”…
It’s the obscure old woman living on a fixed income who donates her 401k to a Christian college when she dies. It’s the poor college student who goes in with his dorm buddies at ten bucks a pop to give a total of $400 a month to some missionary. It’s the sea of people who decide to live on less so that starving children can live on something, anything. We trick ourselves into thinking that earning more money equals more dollars given, but typically more sacrifice equals more dollars. Even the megachurches that give big gifts tend to have had more given over the entire course of their existence by average people rather than by the rich. That’s not saying rich people shouldn’t give, if anything this is a prompting for the rich to give more, but only after admitting that total dollar amount flows directly from total sacrifice amount. Sacrifice is functionally more effective. That’s the only thing connecting the random group of donors who have committed to our work: we all stand at the intersection of God’s prompting and our obedience.
For the most part I will let the quote above stand alone in this post.
I know that when I write posts such as this one I am accused of not appreciated all the money that some of our wealthier citizen give for the public good. I am told that I don’t appreciate that Bill Gates gives billions of his wealth for curing the world’s illnesses. I am told that I don’t appreciate all the money that celebrities such as Bono give for worthy causes. I want to therefore state up front that I do appreciate the few of those at the top end of our economy for their philanthropy.
But as the title of this post shows to me it is more about the total sacrifice made instead of the dollars given. When the family of four that are just above the poverty level give $20 a month to an agency to feed the world’s poor that twenty bucks come from a very limited discretionary budget. Their “total sacrifice” is many times more than those at the top who give thousands and maybe even millions. So, I appreciate it as much, maybe even more than the millions given by others.
Let’s all remember that it is about the “total sacrifice” that really counts. Don’t get caught in the phrase “I wish I could do more” because for the vast majority of us we certainly could do just that….