Saturday, April 28, 2007

Idol Gives Jack

I was watching American Idol the other night (come on you watch it, admit it. It's OK you are safe here. No one will judge you). Anyway, they had been hyping up this whole "Idol Gives Back" campaign where American Idol was going to give money to an African charity and other worthy causes. It was going to be huge. The night of the show came and I watched as always. What struck me was how quickly I realized that this was not going to be what I thought. I was expecting to see how American Idol was going to sacrificially give of itself to help people in Africa and other parts of the world. What this whole thing ended up being was a fundraiser for the causes A.I. wanted us to support. We were told to call in with our pledges and give generously. They brought in all the big stars and put on a very nice production. Yet, it was no at all what I expected.

All this got me thinking about charity; what it is and what it is not. When someone says to you "Hey, I think this is a good cause" and then asks you to give money to it are they really being charitable? I don't know, maybe it is just me but I do not think this is what Jesus had in mind for us when we exercise charity. A couple of things come to mind about Christ's teachings:

1. Give in secret - our giving should be so secretive that we are not even to tell our right hand what the left one is giving.
2. Don't brag - when we do give we are not to do it in a way that is showing off to impress others. Jesus said that with that kind of giving the praise of man will be our only reward. In other words it has no eternal value in God's economy.
3. Give sacrificially - he praised the widow for giving all that she had (1/2 penny) and criticized the Pharasees for giving out of their wealth (bag of gold). In other words, give your best not your leftovers. When I heard Ellen Degeneres say that she was giving $100,000 and challenged other wealthy friends of hers to match her pledge I remember thinking, "You know, Ellen giving $100grand is like me reaching in my pocket and pulling out a ten spot." Seriously, to her that is not a sacrifice, that is leftovers.

Don't get me wrong. I am glad that all the money they raised is going to help needy people. All I am trying to say is think about it the next time you give for the sake of charity. Do it God's way and make it count for more than this life...invest it in the next.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Matt-- While I agree with you (and yes, we do watch AI), we have a lens or filter that is missing for the celebs that you mention. Ours is an eternal perspective, while theirs is limited to this life and world. So I applaud their efforts, including DeGeneres, for what it is-- a giving that is born out of a concern for others, and that is grounded in a created nature (God's image) that they do not even recognize. Nevertheless, their "reward" (as you mention) is here. Too many times, I wish we could get Christians to step up and contribute like non-Christians sometimes do. Being a faithful and godly steward of what God has entrusted to us is something that many believers, ourselves included at times, need to grasp as we discount the efforts of non-believers. The church should know better.