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Friday, July 1, 2011

Imagine if each of us resolved to give just one percent more this year...

In a USA Today news article, "Charitable giving shows modest gain," a giving expert contends, "People are still pretty generous."
Really?
The report finds that Americans, on average, gave just two percent of disposable personal income to charitable causes. Considering that many of us Americans enjoy comfortable housing, fine dining and quality medical care, can we not consider giving more than two cents on the dollar to help those who lack the shelter, food and health care they need to survive?
Rather than considering ourselves "generous" by comparison to less charitable nations, we should challenge ourselves by comparison to those far less fortunate than we who enjoy such privilege. Privilege can insulate us from empathy; wealthier Americans actually give less as a percentage of income than poorer Americans, who can more intimately grasp the need. Poorer Americans more closely imitate the biblical example of the celebrated poor yet generous widow who gave all she had, compared to the rich who gave just a small portion of their surplus.
Imagine if each of us resolved to give just one percent more this year than last year to help feed the hungry, clothe and house the poor and care for the sick. The joy and satisfaction of linking hands with those who desperately need our help would encourage us to continue to elevate our financial priorities to match our moral sensibilities.

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