Sun | Jul 15, 2018

Steve Lyston | Give without discrimination

Published:Monday | December 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM
The Bible

There is a new trend that has been developed by businesses, financial institutions, government agencies and others not to give assistance to faith-based institutions - churches, outreach groups and so on. Some even boldly put it on their websites that they do not give to faith-based organisations. By doing this, they are setting a dangerous precedence and it is, in fact, discrimination. What if people of faith decide to no longer do business with those organisations?

The Bible clearly outlines how one should give. There should be no discrimination by race, colour, gender. The faith-based organisations have a mandate to reach out to all those who have a need. The Bible even says in Matthew 25: 31 that God will judge nations on the basis of how we deal with charity.

Nations include organisations. How we deal with the poor, homeless, prisoners, the sick, will determine what takes place within nations. For too long, many have been focusing on the wrong areas for charity.

I believe that in 2017, we will see many organisations crumble because of their lack of action in giving.

Most organisations give only to those with whom they can get big publicity or where they can serve on the board or for a tax break. The Bible refers to it as hypocrisy, and if one gives with those motives, it cancels out the deed. We should give for divine reward, not for the sake of being noticed. One should not give and call attention to their giving (Luke 141: 12 - 14; Matthew 6).

There should be no selfish motives in performing acts of kindness. There should be no inequality in the distribution of resources. Recognise that withholding from giving to faith-based organisations does not 'starve' the faith-based organisation. Instead, it hurts the organisation that withholds the help.

A similar practice is taking place when faith-based organisations are seeking loans for expansion of their programmes to help the communities they serve. Recognise that it is the community that ultimately suffers. Are you saying that faith-based organisations should not pray for the success of your business? If your company is discriminating against faith-based organisations, then maybe members and supporters of the faith-based organisations you discriminatorily refuse to assist should begin to take note of your organisation and shift their support from you.

 

REFORMATION AND CHANGE

 

For reformation to take place, crime has to be reduced, families have to be restored, good parenting has to be taught. Directors and organisations need to re-examine their policies. Biblically, in the Books of Nehemiah and Ezra, when leaders gave then reformation and change took place. Every organisation must remember that God is the one who gives power to get wealth. He is the one who gives us the ability to make profit (Isaiah 48: 17; Deuteronomy 8: 18). When groups and organisations withhold from or try to starve the faith-based organisations, then it opens the door to increase in extortion and scamming, because it then means that the church will not be able to carry out its mandate within the community.

Leviticus 23: 22 reminds us: "When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the Lord your God.'"

Many times, organisations give to groups and other organisations where most of what is given goes to administrative costs, while those who really need the help don't receive it; or they may give to politicians and it is either pocketed or it is wasted on buying votes, so those who truly need help don't receive it.

If companies want real change to take place, then let the change begin this Christmas so that those less fortunate - those within your gates of business operations - will begin to receive the benefits of your benevolence without discrimination. As long as an organisation is carrying out charitable deeds within a community, one should not discriminate by refusing to give to faith-based organisations.

There are so many people who are hungry, sick, and in need of care and it can be alleviated with the help of your organisation.

- Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.