Giving is not an Investment

My wife often laughs at me when I use the word "investment." Not because she thinks finances and budgets are silly matters; she laughs because I use it as a synonym for "buy."

I rarely say, "we need to buy speakers for our tv." Instead I'll say, "we need to invest in speakers for our tv." Buying things sounds so materialistic and frivolous and I, for one, don't like wasting money. So I prefer to invest my money in things that I intend to see a return of some kind. Like a better television viewing experience.

We have to be careful this time of year. Those threats of consumerism and materialism are everywhere, and if we're not careful, we could deplete our resources on things that don't matter. That's why we're cautious about where we give.

There are literally thousands of charities and humanitarian organizations all with great missions and motives. But not all of them use their resources as wisely as we do. So we have to be prudent and scrutinize every organization and their decisions to determine if they're using our money well. After all, we're the ones who've invested. They owe us enough to make wise choices.
photo credit: Images_of_Money via photopin cc

In fact, they owe us more. Without our dollars, their organization wouldn't even exist! Non-profits rely solely on our donations and investments from philanthropists. The difference is those wealthy benefactors usually hold a position on that organization's board of directors. Why don't we? Why don't we get a say in the decisions they make? I may not know much about drilling wells in Africa, but it's my right as an investor of Charity: water to tell them how to do their job. Because it's my money.

A classic, American sentiment. And now the truth.

Charitable givers are not stockholders.

Your donations are not an investment. They purchase no ownership of any kind. You have no say in how the organization you donate to runs its operation.

When a gift is given, there are no strings attached. It's given out of a generous spirit and a desire to see good come from it. But it has no illusions that good is guaranteed. Even the universe is witness to the pervasive nature of entropy and waste in transaction. Should that mean that we sacrifice our charity on the altar of uncertainty? Then let cynicism reign and worry preclude beneficence. Because without giving, there would be no peace on earth or goodwill toward men.

Let go of your worry. Let go of your money. Give generously to things you believe in. And thank God our heavenly father isn't an investor.