October 1, 2012
Unexercised capabilities are utterly worthless… and uninvested assets are similarly meaningless.
Don’t rush to Google to find a source on those two affronts; I’ll confess “guilty” to both charges. Those comments capture my core values; they are markers in the scope I look through each day as I prepare to fire. To have capacity on the sidelines when there is need on the field is an inexcusable exercise of apathy.
America has been described as “the City on the Hill” – referencing the comment made by Jesus about his plans for his people. Mixing metaphors, he conceived and described a growing community of live-betters whose experience would serve as example for others who wanted a better life, but did not know the recipe. A city on the hill; a light among men: when the masses got a look at the followers of Jesus, they would be drawn to them like moths to a lantern in a dark humid night.
Why isn’t there a Christianity Today 400?
This month’s edition of Forbes – with the medallion proclaiming “Special 30th Anniversary Issue” – has the annual Roster of the Rich. Since 1982, the magazine for the marketplace has published the year-end standings among the major league competitors using only one metric – personal net worth – as the qualification for inclusion. The veil has been ripped; the secrecy has been shattered: anonymity is no longer assumed among the very-well-paid.
In this 30th retelling of the tale, there is a fascinating emphasis that is far more than a sidebar: the new mark of magnificence among the billionaires who could afford most any indulgence is the introduction of a new measure of success. The lead article, bannered on the cover: “Making it Big, Giving it Big: The Titans of Philanthropy.”
Forbes has grown up in its reporting – and, subtle influence – among the affluent. The stories inside feature well known names like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Steve Case and others who have become advocates of the peer challenge that is anything but secret: who are the Listers who have the courage to give as intentionally as they received?
The pledge, in a phrase: commit to give half your net-worth to charitable use before you die. Leading by example, Gates’ and Buffett’s stories are the “put up or shut up” that this group is drawn to emulate. The genius of generosity is rising among the rich…
The best story in the mag exposes David Green, whose family has grown a mom-and-pop start-up to mega status in the retail universe. Hobby Lobby is 520 super stores in 42 states – with hopes to grow to 1000 – employing 22,000 people in a “closed-on-Sunday” example of business done, by believers. The success of Hobby Lobby has placed Green at #79 on Forbes’ List, with $4.5 billion.
But Green practiced philanthropy before it became the Sport of Kings. And, he distinguishes between the “good” causes espoused by the Giving Pledge leaders and the “great” causes which will “echo beyond our temporal existence.” As he puts it, “I don’t know how to get anywhere else once you start with that one thing: that the Bible is God’s word.”
I don’t recommend magazines often, but I would sure encourage a beeline to your local news provider to get a copy. And, I would challenge you to join me in a fantasy: wouldn’t it be great if we – the brothers and sisters of the Son, and children of the Father – who love so much that they gave – reclaimed the prominence in philanthropy?
A giver… among the giving,