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You too can be a Philanthropist

January 12, 2012
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Philanthropy – love of mankind. Not to be confused with philandering, which is a different kind of love…

Anyway, there’s a great interview with some SERIOUS philanthropists here. There guys have earned millions and given away millions, and I for one am deeply grateful to see that kind of generosity. It’s a 5 minute radio interview and I think there’s lots of great insights in it. ‘I don’t want to be the richest guy in the graveyard’ is a particular gem. So is the moment when he was told ‘it’s not your money, really’. Good stuff.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9669000/9669043.stm

But listening to the clip also made me think that we can all be philanthropists. We can all love others; we can all give. In fact, Jesus was spectacularly unimpressed by the donations of the wealthy in his day. The real giving he was interested in happened quite unnoticed: two small coins into the temple treasury (Luke 21:1-4). But Jesus said it was more than all the other gifts he’d seen (and he’d seen some big ones). Note: he didn’t say ‘guys, do you know what, this widow gave too’. He doesn’t say ‘in a funny way she gave as much as they did. He said ‘she gave more’. So really, truly, think of yourself as a philanthropist. Especially if you give sacrificially.

The radio interview mentions setting a target. If that’s what millionaires can do, maybe that’s what we can do, too. The greatest teaching I ever heard on giving was a guy who simply decided to give the greatest percentage of his income away that he could. Sometimes it was 25%, sometimes 40%, sometimes 30%. The point is that he had an ambition, a target. He’d learned to love to give (does that make him a philophilanthropist?). May it be the same for us.

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