Wednesday, November 11, 2015
The Privilege of Giving
In the past couple of days we've been told that our new federal government in Canada is committed to bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees here before the end of the year. That is an average of 500 a day and honestly, as much as I would like this to happen I'm dubious that it can in a way that is in the best interests of the newcomers. I don't want this to be a determined attempt to fulfil a political promise if it any way jeopardizes the wellbeing of the people who are entering the country.
On the other hand, this may be the challenge that Canadians need. Yesterday I saw a list in The Guardian of the ten most generous nations on the planet and Canada was listed at number four, which ain't too shabby. We are surpassed by New Zealand, the United States, and (drum roll) Myanmar. Could you find Myanmar on a map!
Don't get too puffed up now. Apparently we Canadians are more generous with our time than our money, and our charitable contributions are shrinking. I wonder if that's because the older base for charitable giving is dying off and younger people are less inclined to contribute financially. That's what churches are finding.
Our Belleville United Church refugee sponsorship initiative is receiving lots of support. I'm hoping that folk open their wallets a bit more, but we are solidly on our way with furnishings and volunteers in every sphere of integration. Now we just need to get our family of five here.
I pray that we all realize the breadth of our blessings and respond with practical compassion. I don't think it's any accident that the majority of sponsorships are coming from faith-based groups. It is the mandate of most faiths and certainly a central aspect of Christianity.
We may be considered one of the most generous nations on Earth but we can't rest on our laurels.
Do you consider yourself generous or are you a piker? Do you give of your time, and talent, and money? Does your faith motivate you? Have you become more or less generous through the years?
As you know, I'm thrilled that you read this blog, but this is a time I would really like to hear from you!