Автор: Sas Conradie
Category: Разумное распоряжение ресурсами
My wife often complains that I read too much newspaper. I suppose that might be the case, but yesterday as I scanned the BBC News website, I was quite pleased that I have such an interest. As I tried to understand what is happening in different parts of the world, I discovered ‘The World Giving Index 2010’ produced by the Charities Aid Foundation (www.cafonline.org/Default.aspx?page=19428). This fascinating Report compares the percentage of people in different countries who have donated to an organization in the previous month, who have given time (volunteered) to an organization the previous month and who have helped strangers during the previous month. Countries are then compared and given a ‘giving index’ to indicate which countries are the most charitable and which are the least. Having developed the notion in my doctorate thesis that by Christians should be all volunteers by nature who give money and time without expecting anything in return, this Index was right up my sleeve.
Unfortunately there are many surprises in the report. It started with the headline ‘Australia and New Zealand top World Giving Index’’ (www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11220564). That was not easy to swallow for a South African living in the UK. The Aussies and the Kiwis do not only beat us in rugby and cricket but in giving as well!! Yep, and the US is not the country with the highest percentage of people who have given money to organizations the previous month. That honor goes to Malta with 83% followed by the Netherlands with 77% and then Thailand and the UK with 73%. That in comparison to the 60% of Americans. And remember that giving includes giving to churches! Though the 60% is still fairly high, a country like Laos has done better with 64%! Looking at the number of people who have given some of their time to volunteer in organizations the statistics are even more fascinating (and remember this includes time to help in churches!). Who would have thought that the country with the highest percentage would be Turkmenistan with 61%! Other countries who did well are Sri Lanka with 52% and Guinea and Tajikistan with 42% each. Compare that to the 39% in the US and 29% in the UK. Yep, and who would have guessed that the largest percentage of people helping strangers would be in Liberia (76%) , Sierra Leone (75%) and Sudan (69%)! I am a little ashamed to say that I am a South African because only 15% of South Africans gave money to organizations the previous month, 19% volunteered in organizations and 57% helped strangers … It seems all my efforts in 1990s to encourage South African Christians to share their time and money with people in need had little impact. By the way the Australians and Kiwis did the best because their averages are the highest.
This Report throws up many questions as we start preparing for the sessions of the Resource Mobilisation Working Group in Cape Town in October. As the Report indicates the level of giving in a country indicates something of the extent to which individuals are willing and able to contribute towards addressing the needs of others both in their own localities and across borders. If we as Christians are by nature people who give without expecting anything in return according to the example of Jesus in Mark 10:45, then our level of giving is an indication of our commitment to Christ… And should Christians not by nature care for the strangers in their midst (Mt 25)? How can it be then that despite exceptions so many countries with even high Christian populations have so low giving and volunteering rates?
There are different reasons why people give more than others. The Report rightly emphasizes that charitable behaviour differs immensely between cultures. What is seen as charitable in one culture might be seen as part of daily life in another. However it is interesting that the Report concludes that the level of satisfaction or happiness of a population is a key driver for increasing the giving of money or time. The happier they are the easier they will give money, time or help strangers. But should Christians not be the happiest people on earth because we know our sins are forgiven and we are children of the Living God? And should we therefore not set an example of giving to others?!
According to the Report, Australia and New Zealand’s high levels of generosity are influenced by the way their governments encourage generosity (no mention of their churches encouraging generosity!). I then wondered what we as Christians can do to encourage generosity and stewardship in countries through much better Biblical teaching on generosity and stewardship in theological institutions and churches? Can we increase generosity and stewardship in local communities, countries and regions through Christians working together in Generosity Networks? Not that global indexes are important, but through those efforts could we perhaps, just perhaps play an identifiable role in improving the giving indexes of countries such as Ukraine (the country where we were missionaries that has the third lowest giving index), or my home country South Africa that is 76 out of 153 countries on the giving list, or the UK where we are living now but where only 29% give of their time to organizations? Now that will be an exciting challenge!!!!
This is exactly some of the issues that we are going to discuss during the Resource Mobilisation Working Group sessions at Cape Town 2010. We intend to start putting the different pieces together to increase generosity and stewardship amongst Christians globally. Having read the World Giving Index 2010 I am really geared up to see this increase in generosity and stewardship!! For those readers who will be attending Cape Town 2010, please join the Resource Mobilisation Working Group in Cape Town as we take off or even better blast off on this journey!
See you in Cape Town