Computer mogul Bill Gates is best known for his achievements in software development, but over the years as his fortune has accumulated, so has his philanthropic ways. Mr. Gates credits his mother for instilling in him the drive to give to others.
During a speech she gave at an event for his upcoming nuptials shortly before her death, her finals words were reminiscent of a wisdom in scripture:
Luke 12:48, […] When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
Most of us do not have an acquired fortune like the Gates family, but just because we may not have a trust fund, that does not mean we are not expected to be trusted with God’s funds. Many of us assume that charity and philanthropy are of the same nature, but there is a distinct difference between the two. The difference commonly observed is that charity relieves the pains of social problems, whereas philanthropy attempts to solve those problems at their root causes. Think of the age old Chinese proverb of giving a hungry man a fish, and teaching a hungry man how to fish.
We need to look no farther than Jesus bleeding upon the old rugged cross to see both the giving of charity and the teaching of philanthropy in action. We, the hungry man, were given the gift of salvation when Christ died for us. This great act of charity was the relief we needed to deal with our sin so that we may be reunited with God. It is through our process of transformation that He bestows upon us the greatest act of philanthropy: teaching us to live our lives in His truth so that the pain in our sinful soul may heal, and our problems can be dealt with at their root causes.
And there exists NO ONE who is able to complete such a work like Jesus, but just because we can not heal someone’s sin, that doesn’t mean we are not expected to be His hands and feet unto others to help in the healing. There is no greater act of charity than Christ dying for us… in that He gave much. It is because of this gift that we- God’s children- are given a trust fund in heaven. And when we are given much, much is required of us in properly handling the gift. Let us remember that we are commanded to give unto others as we would give unto ourselves. The gifts, talents, and blessings poured out to us, no matter how little or how much they appear in the world’s eyes, are much to the eyes of heaven.
Father, let us do well with all that you have given us. Thank you for the greatest act of charity this world will ever know… the gift of your Son. As you entrust us with much, help us to fulfill the expectations of heaven for all that we have. In Jesus name, amen.