What outcomes would you like to see from your charity?
Think about it. What do you consider important—self-sufficiency, salvation, healthy living, artistic expression, stable parenting—the possibilities are endless. And, I’m guessing the answer is different for each of us.
However, we should know the answer to this question.
The answer to this question will direct our giving.
Lupton, in his book Toxic Charity, suggests that we should restructure our giving (time, talent, treasure) to produce the results or outcomes we are hoping for. We should ask this as individuals and perhaps as churches too. What outcomes do we want our giving to produce?
Are we directing our resources in such a way to achieve these results, or are we doing what happens to be most intriguing or popular. Often the journey on the road to our desired outcomes is long…and perhaps rocky. It can’t be accomplished by a quick collection of food or toiletries (although I highly encourage these efforts), but might involve a personal commitment to disciple a single mother for a year. Spending time with her celebrating joys and time weeping in sorrow—giving her so much more than food for her cupboard. Building trust and forming a real relationship. It’s not easy. Well, at least for me it’s not.
I’m thinking about these things. And, it’s challenging me. Am I going deep enough? Am I really willing to look at what I’m investing in and make changes? It’s a tough discussion to have. I hope you’ll join me.
p.s. Lupton shared an illustration of a food co-op rather than a food pantry that was pretty inspiring. Visit the organization’s website (Georgia Avenue Community Ministry) and check them out.