Saturday, August 25, 2007

Turning 30

I don't feel any different today being 30 than I did yesterday being 29. I think the only difference I will encounter is when people ask me my age. My mom has always told me her 30s were so much better than her 20s, but I always thought my 20s were pretty good. I became a Christian at the age of 23, so I spent most of the decade serving the Lord and seeking Him in my decisions. I got married at the age of 24, had Bennett at 25, Rachel at 27, moved to Washington and owned my first home at 28 and sold it at 29. They were very full years, and I am sure the next 10 will be even fuller yet. I still have a desire to adopt a sibling group from Africa, serve in my community more, and get my children involved in giving and serving others. I don't know how that will all look but the desire is there.

I watched an interesting 20/20 program that I had taped today looking at philanthropy and charity in America. The myth is that Americans are stingy and cheap and that America doesn't give enough of our wealth away. Another myth is that liberal people give more than conservative people. It just isn't true. The two people groups that give the highest percentage of their money to charity is the working poor and the rich. People of faith, all faiths, give more than anyone else, not just to their church either. They give more to non-religious groups, they give more blood and donate more of their time. The top 23 of the 24 most generous states are all "red" states. It is true that the US government doesn't give as much of its money away than other countries, but Americans give more individually than any other people. No one else is as generous as Americans with their money.

The program also looked at the uber-rich, the American billionaires. There is a movement within their ranks to give generously... Warren Buffet, Ted Turner, and the Gates have all given away at least a billion of their own dollars. They call it "philanthropy" though, not charity. The difference is that philanthropy creates something new to solve problems in the world, it doesn't just throw money at it. The host interviewed several billionaires and asked them why they don't give more of their money away. Why do they need so much? There were many different answers to that question. Some said that they do give enough, some said that there weren't enough organizations to give to that do a good job, some said that investing their money back into business helps more people by creating jobs for more people and creates more wealth, some said that they can't "afford" to give more. I thought that one was funny. The show was very interesting, and it was nice to hear the truth for a change that Americans aren't all bad.

One thing that their research found was that private charities do a better job than the government does at meeting needs. That means that people like you and me can really make a difference. That is one of the reasons the researchers say that liberal people don't give as much. They live with the philosophy that the government should meet the needs of people. The government should create programs and distribute wealth to the people. That just isn't how churches and the generous American operates. They take it upon themselves to do the job, they don't wait for someone else to do it. Churches start foreign orphanages, schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, and shelters. When they give of their money to these causes, they become invested personally in them.

I feel compelled to do more with the resources the Lord has given me. Give more money, time, energy to serving those less fortunate. I need to start praying that God will lead me to where He wants me to serve. Jeromy too feels the desire to get more involved in our community. We just haven't found where that will be and what God wants us to do. There is so much work to be done, and I want to use my talents wisely. That seems like a good goal for my 30s.


Kristen Borland said...

definitely a good goal for your thirties! great post. that sounds like it was an interesting program. it is good to hear the truth instead of the myths.

i hope you had a great b-day!

Brenda Williams said...

Happy Happy Birthday!!!
I find the 30s so far to be fantastic! Even better than my 20s.

Samantha said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes. it was a good day!