Thursday, 5 November 2015

The Giving Pledge

Hi again prayer intrepids, please never give up on this spiritual exercise

Well it's nice to know that the likes of Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg are listening to the noises made by recent C4L bulletins!   The BBC says: "The chief executive of Apple has announced he is donating most of his wealth to charity before he dies.  He joins a growing number of the world's super-rich who are giving away their wealth, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  Five years ago, billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates launched the campaign The Giving Pledge.  It aims to convince billionaires to give at least half of their fortunes to charity.


Jesus said: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48)

In my last prayer letter I asked for prayer as I walk towards remarriage.  Today she came with me to a farm where close friends of mine were being feted as they have intentionally sold the farm so that they can devote more of their future to ministry.  Of course for me this is the best way to go - downwardly mobile.  So I was excited and wanted them to meet the lady in my life before they move away.

When we got to the farm there was a marquis on the lawn, cars lined the driveway and there was a prevalence of not only white skin but white hair too.  My partner blanched.  Ooops, well not exactly, let me find another metaphor...  I have thought about this.  She did not panic, she would not be taking me on if she lacked courage!  Remember what I have often said - that the crux of the problem in this country is "white fear and black bitterness".  There was resentment and even contempt mixed into in the angst that suddenly emerged.  Even I had not expected the scale of this send-off, nor of the effect it would have on my partner.

There were some awkward, difficult moments of hearing her out (and feeling her pain) in the car, at a safe distance from the lawn.  Inequality is not just some statistics, or a rule of thumb like The Giving Pledge.  Those billionaires can still stay at a very safe distance from it, by creating ever more foundations and charities.  But in my life, in 2015, inequality is a near and present danger.  Resentment eats away at people who are exploited and who (in reality or perception) see themselves as disadvantaged.  Or as superior, knowing that blacks out-number whites by a large margin, and thus call the shots politically if not economically?  Which ever way you look at it, the wealth gap and the generation gap can be a very vivid double jeopardy in South Africa.

The brother of Jesus wrote: "Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?  But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you?" (James 2:5,6)

This incisive comment on discrimination follows an earlier comment: "Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation." (James 1:9,10)

Far be it from me to even come near the edge of betraying confidence or worse yet of exploiting a loved one.  So please just keep this in your prayers.  But as Easter approaches, ask yourself why Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem and not a steed?

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