Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blessed with the Opportunity to Give: Even When Broke

I have been thinking a lot about the joy of giving lately. The image of the poster by Debt Busters: "Debt Robs Your Ability to be Generous" has been in my mind. I've been thinking too about Open Collaboration's work with gift circles and trying to break down the division between the giver and the recipient. There was also my own pleasure at having the opportunity to support teachers with Donors Choose that at least temporarily relieved some of the psychic burden of being always broke.

Today I came across a November 1 article by Rob Kuban, the author of Dollars and Doctrine, a book about the Bible's take on all things financial.

Kuban seeks to answer the question "Should Poor People Give?" Here is some of what he had to say:
...It has been shown time and time again that poor people are more generous with their money (proportionally) than rich people:

For decades, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans don’t give away as much of their money as they might and are particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor, who are strikingly generous. A number of other studies have shown that lower-income Americans give proportionally more of their incomes to charity than do upper-income Americans. (NY Times)

I think sometimes we don’t approach this question from the right perspective. We tend to be a little melodramatic. We discuss this issue painting a picture of a single mom with starving kids who can’t put food on the table because the manipulative pastor is ringing every last cent out of her budget. With A LOT of irony, as the rich and middle class sit around debating the financial ramifications of the Bible’s instructions for the less fortunate, the poor are out giving. Kind of funny if you stop to think about it. The rich and middle class sit around trying to “help” the single mom who in actuality might be giving a higher proportion of her income than them! Therefore, I think we should move forward keeping in mind that, statiscally speaking, maybe the poor should be the ones teaching the rich what to do with their money!

...If giving has nothing to do with amounts and everything to do with our hearts, then why is our call to give dependent on our tax bracket?