Issues

Money and giving

Discussion starter

This article introduces an Oxford academic who has worked out how much money he needs to live comfortably and has pledged to give the rest away to charity to fight poverty. He estimates that he will be able to give over £1 million in his lifetime and help save thousands of lives.

Some questions for discussion

– What is your response to this story? Do you admire him or think he is misguided?
– Is it our duty to help others when we can, whatever the cost? Are there limits to how much we should be expected to give?
– How do you feel about money? How important is it? What should it be used for? What do you use it for?
– What would you be willing to sacrifice in order to help others – both those you don’t know, as well as those you know?

A Christian perspective on money and giving

The Bible strongly encourages giving – especially sacrificial giving (i.e. giving to the point that it hurts!). Christians are encouraged to give their time and their money to help others. It teaches a moral responsibility to look after the most vulnerable members of society. Think of the parable of the Good Samaritan, or the Old Testament laws, or the words of the prophets who called Israel to look after widows and orphans.

It is interesting that Dr Ord’s charity, Giving What We Can, invites people to pledge 10% of their earnings. The Church suggests a tithe – 10% of income – as a base-line for all giving and encourages Christians to give further on top of this. This money may go to the local church, charities at home or abroad. But this is just the starting point. Jesus and St Paul both advocate a spirit of generosity – a reflection of the generous heart of God.

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