OK, anti-poverty is an option — for those who are so enthusiastic about caring for the poor. These people are right in saying we do not have all the money to eliminate the problem of food crisis or provide clean water/education/medical facilitates etc. at the global level, and we cannot even donate to all charities and organizations at the local level, and we do not have time to split ourselves up among so many varied causes –behind all these conditions, it is necessary to choose and pick some of those causes that we can help. It is more realistic to pick and choose provided that we have limited resources and human power. Can we really not choose among these many options? I don’t know. SO, these arguments are legitimate.
But how do we make our decision in choosing one over others? What are the criteria of the pick and choose? What happens to those who are not being chosen?
Certainly, there are guidelines to help us make a decision — such as looking at the expense of the organization to see if the donation is spent wisely, looking for the accountability, effectiveness, and reliability of the organization, matching with needs and services etc. Besides all these objective measurements, there can be some subjective issues — such as if the donor likes the staff persons of the organization, if the donor’s girlfriend likes that organization, if the donor feels honored, if the color of the pamphlets attractive — there are thousands of reasons for not giving money to a particular cause or organization, and who knows what these subjective criteria might be?
My friends, missionary couple to the remote part of mainland China had the experience that a potential supporter was taking everything into account when considering the amount of money to be given to the couple and to support their mission. The supporter thought that the couple has other networks that might help them to raise fund. So the supporter decided to make a little contribution to their mission.
My missionary couple friends are humble persons, and they received the donation with gladness. In the meantime, those others who come for their meeting and were asked if they would make any contribution to their mission work responded negatively. Many of them thought the couple would receive money from others, so they were not going to give any.
Of course, these people think missionaries should live a simple life and they do not deserve a good life. While those others who are not called to be missionaries can spend their money on a luxurious life. Of course, it is their money, and they can decide what to give and what not to give.
It is not about money
Sometimes it is not just about the money, but how one makes the decision and one’s attitude to the people matter. Book of Acts tells us early Christians live together, share everything with one another, and work together on the mission.
Then in the 5th chapter, Ananias and his wife Sapphira broke the rule by accumulating private properties, and they were later found dead and buried. This story is too much for the capitalist society, and some even see it not pertinent to current situations.
It is ok not to listen to all the biblical teachings, but what are the criteria of choosing what to listen and what not to listen? When one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers. It is not about whether or not one has a particular call, and one has to respond to a particular cause. It is not even about everyone has to give/make a donation, but it is about breaking our biases and thinking of creative ways to work together.