Philip Yancey is an American author. His books have sold more than fifteen million copies in English,and have been translated into forty languages. For years I have reflected on this excerpt from his book,”Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey. Copyright ©1990, 1977 by Philip Yancey” It’s not a brief quote, but it is certainly a worthy one:
“In my career as a journalist, I have interviewed diverse people. Looking back, I can roughly divide them into two types: stars and servants. The stars included NFL football greats, movie actors, music performers, famous authors, TV personalities, and the like. These are the people who dominate our magazines and our television programs. We fawn over them, pouring over the minutiae of their lives: the clothes they wear, the food they eat, the aerobic routines they follow, the people they love, the toothpaste they use.
Yet I must tell you that, in my limited experience, these “idols” are as miserable a group of people as I have ever met. Most have troubled or broken marriages. Nearly all are hopelessly dependent on psychotherapy. In a heavy irony, these larger-than-life heroes seemed tormented by an incurable self-doubt.
I also spent time with servants. People like Dr. Paul Brand, who worked for twenty years among the poorest of the poor, leprosy patients in rural India. Or health workers who left high-paying jobs to serve with Mendenhall Ministries in a backwater town of Mississippi. Or relief workers in Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, or other such repositories of world-class human suffering. Or the Ph.D.’s scattered throughout the jungles of South America translating the Bible into obscure languages.
I was prepared to honor and admire these servants, to hold them up as inspiring examples. I was not, however, prepared to envy them. But as I now reflect on the two groups side-by-side, stars and servants, the servants clearly emerge as the favored ones, the graced ones. They work for low pay, long hours, and no applause, “wasting” their talents and skills among the poor and uneducated. But somehow in the process of living their lives they have found them. They have received the ‘peace that is not of this world’”.
The above reference is found on page 57 and 58 in the book by Phillip Yancy, “Where is God When it Hurts,” mentioned above.
According to Mr. Yancey, the secret that these “servants” have found is the secret of giving and letting go. Many of us may well soon come into a measure of prosperity very soon that we have never known before. The question is: Will our newfound prosperity have an elevated purpose? Do we have a plan for giving just as these servants have given of their resources and time?
Could it be that what we do with the first of our newfound wealth says more about who we truly are than we realize? It says a lot about our worldview, and what we truly value as a person. Wouldn’t it be rewarding to be able to look back and know that our first financial transaction benefited the needy and the suffering in our world? Others first, then, we can freely take for ourselves and our family. Breaking up the greed in our hearts and takes our eyes off of the man in the mirror. to focus for a time on the greater needs of the aching world around us. There is a joy in giving that is hard to put into words. As we give to the suffering, unfortunate, the hurting, and those in crisis, we are embracing something large. We training our hearts and our character for a better future for all.
Compumatrix is on the verge of changing many of our lives. Are you prepared for wealth? Now is the time to get things ready and rehearse and confirm the direction of how you might give; and investigate who you might give to. Let’s use this time before this new chapter, to carefully prepare to give to upright non-profit organizations of the highest integrity in purpose and financial management. Let’s pre-load our hearts for philanthropy.
My wife and I already have a dozen or so organizations that we plan to give into at some time in the future.
When deciding to give to any group or philanthropic organization, we all need to do our due diligence. Here are some basic and important principles to consider:
1) What is the full reach and impact of the dollars that you are giving? Make excellent and thoughtful investigation, as much as possible, into the percentages of what funds are going to the people you desire to profit with your giving. Listen to what is stated up front, but also listen to what is not openly stated and conveniently omitted.
2) Is it a non-profit that steps into crisis situations with very creative and effective solutions? For example: We recently planned to give to a particular organization. In the beginning of our research on that organization, we were pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have to look any further than the front page of their website to answer all our questions. Their thoroughness and full transparency of the scope of the mission, and detailed info how finances donated were dispensed was impressive. They presented all the financial pie charts and graphs needed, and gave percentages of overhead expenses, and what actually was reaching the people we desired to help. All green lights!
3) Take the time to read online reviews and testimonies. Read them all. It seldom is a waste of your time. I’m always thankful for the people who take the time to write reviews about services and any problems they encountered. Many times, one simple comment from a stranger’s review has revealed a detail that influenced and totally changed my thinking about stepping forward with my giving.
4 ) Does the non-profit you are interested in have a GuideStar “Seal of Transparency” approval?
5) Did you know that many non-profits are linked to other non-profits, and you may not be aware of “that” partnership? What other non-profits are connected with the non-profit organization you are giving to? Do you agree with their values too? Take time to inquire. Your gift deserves such oversight and wise stewardship.
6) Make sure that your spouse is aware and onboard of who/what organizations you are giving to. True happiness and unity are doubled when you do it together. Also, if you have children, get them involved in giving. Let them experience the happiness of the generosity that you both are enjoying, and train their hearts to experience the thrill, reward and fun in being a giver.
Following these few simple principles might just save you from any future regret if you were ever to find out something that organization you were giving to was not all that it seemed to be.
I am of the mindset that the blessings of God are given to steward well, and praying over our wealth and the distribution of it, reveals an attitude of dependence upon God’s wisdom and His direction with every financial blessing.
Let’s spring-load our hearts to give! New wealth is coming to us. Planning to give from the first of our increase will train our hearts to push against the ugliness of greed. Prosperity with a purpose is the mindset of a world changer.