Does Your Giving Reflect Your Values?

It used to be that baseball was America’s sport. So every Saturday, the networks televised the “game of the week.” It was during one of those broadcasts that the two longtime and quite famous announcers caught themselves discussing something other than baseball.

You see one of the announcers confided that his daughter was graduating from high school but he was there working. The other announcer’s voice broke with some sadness, and said, “Ah no, you shouldn’t be here—you should be at the graduation.”

It was a reflection of values:  work before family. I suspect, however, that the man made his choice with little reflection. He wanted to be faithful to his job but didn’t weigh the decision in line with his priorities.

So it is with our giving decisions. Often, we make decisions on our giving based upon what is right in front of us. It may be an urgent appeal, something that tugs at our heartstrings, or it may be simply because we “know” the person doing the ministry work.

In reality, our giving should reflect our values—whether they be focused upon the poor, the widow, evangelism, etc. Here’s a simple plan:

1. Make a list of your top 5 giving values (what do you most want to support?),
2. Evaluate where/who you are giving to against those set of values,
3. If necessary, reallocate according to your values—it may mean eliminating some organizations and adding others.

It’s really a simple plan, but allows us to align our actions with our values.

William High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Christian Community Foundation (www.servantchristian.com).  He works with givers to help them make wise, tax advantageous, strategic giving decisions.  He may be reached at whigh@servantchristian.com.

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