By Sunday Akanni Moshood
When the word ‘Philanthropist’ is being pronounced and heard, what instantly get into the mind of many of us is a clear picture of an ‘already made’ wealthy millionaire/billionaire. We believe the ‘philantropic category’ is solely meant for certain persons who have got more than enough to take care of themselves and have excesses to share with others.
However, this school of thought is pretty wrong, especially for we children of God – Christians. Anyone (and indeed, everyone of us) can become a philantropist. The dictionary defined a philanthropist simply as ‘a person who seeks to promote the welfare of others, especially by the generous donation of money to good causes’.
It never said ‘a millionaire who gives millions of dollars’ or ‘a billionaire who donates billions of Naira’. It simply said ‘a person’ (that is, anyone – including you) who has a generous heart to give any amount to promote the welfare of others.
The basic theme here is ‘giving’. And giving is appropriately measured by quality and not just quantity. This is more important to us as Christians. Our Lord Jesus Christ asked us to give continually. ‘Give to everyone’ He said in Luke 6: 30. He never said ‘give only when you have enough to take care of yourself’, neither did He said ‘millionaires and billionaires, only you should give’. He expects and wants everyone of us to give any amount of money (no matter how small you think it is) to promote the welfare of others and bring Honour and Glory to God our Father. God is the First and Greatest Philantropist (He gave everything).
When you don’t hoard the little you have but you keep giving out to put smiles on the faces of others and bring Glory to God, you are simply ‘laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth or rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal’ (Matthew 6:20). Indeed, you will be among the fortunate ones the LORD will praise on the day of judgement will His lovely voice: “For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink…. Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me’
You get the attention of God when you give the little you’ve got for His Glory. Remember the poor widow who gave everything she had in Mark 12. She got the Lord’s attention! She was the real VIP! She also is a philantropist!
It’s all about your heart. ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Corinthians 9:2). Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to giving. As a Christian, you must be a giver – a philantropist who gives to bring honour to God’s Name.
There is something I also want you to note. To many of us, the word ‘philantropist’ is only synonymous with the giving of money. This is not true though. Remember the opening lines of the definition of a philantropist? It says ‘someone who seeks to promote the welfare of others’. The ‘especially by the donation of money’ simply indicate that money isn’t the only thing that can make you a philantropist!
The most important thing in philanthropy is giving out anything good that benefits others, not only/just money. As a Christian, you should give your time, give your talent, give your brain, etc to better the welfare of others and bring Glory to God. Apostle Paul was a philanthropist in the presence of God, not because he has some huge cash to give. He might not have lots of money, but he has something: ‘his body’. And he gave his body ‘to hardship’ (1 Corinthian 13:3) for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Christian! Give the word of God to this dying world. You’ve got Jesus, give the world JESUS. ‘Speak and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy’ (Proverbs 31:9). Our Lord Jesus made us realised we are philantropists when we ‘heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons’. He told us ‘freely you have received, freely give’ ( Matthew 10:8)
Don’t forget. You have no reason to boast over anything you have – be material things or spiritual gifts. God owns everything and He is the One Who gave it all. ‘But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from Your hand’ (1 Chronicles 29:14).