If you have heard me teach on finances you have likely heard me say the phrase, “You can’t give what you don’t have”. I mean to say that a sincere Christian can have a great desire to help people or support evangelism but if they lack the finances to give they cannot. Harold Eberle states this very well in his book Compassionate Capitalism: A Judea Christian Value:
If we want more compassionate capitalists, we need more capitalists. Compassionate people need capital.
Consider Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian author of War and Peace. He owned a huge estate that employed hundreds of workers. Tolstoy was a generous man, caring for the needs of the peasants. After becoming a serious Christian he read our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount and then decided that he should sell everything and give the proceeds to the poor. Unfortunately his estate came in the possession of greedy owners who mistreated the peasants. In their plight, the peasants cried out to Tolstoy to deliver them, but he was no longer in a position to help. Tolstoy had given up his position of influence and power. As a result people suffered.
What is the lesson? Prosperous people can help others. Of course there may be a few individuals who God has called to a sacrificial life, owning little and spending most of their time in prayer. But the vast majority of God’s people should work six days a week and be productive. The more successful they are, the more they will have the power and authority to influence this world in a positive way.
This applies at all levels. The medical doctor can only go on medical mission trips if he makes enough of money to take the time off and finance the mission. A business woman can only offer advanced training to her employees if her business is advancing. The business man can only fund an orphanage in Africa if he is making a profit. And the neighborhood boy can only mow the lawn of the disabled homeowner if he has a lawn mower. People cannot be compassionate capitalists unless they are first capitalists.
I wonder what opportunities we could give to if we put ourselves in the place of having the resources (abundance) to give?
Compassionate Capitalism – A Judeo-Christian Valueby Harold Eberle, 2010, Worldcast Publishing. Pg. 121-122