Toxic Charity

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Almsgiving is Mammon’s perversion of giving. It affirms the superiority of the giver, binds the recipient, demands gratitude, humiliates him and reduces him to a lower state than he had before //  Jacques Ellul

The Class of the Bobs 

Those who joined us for the January Lifework class were in for a challenging message. It was the morning of the Bobs as both Bob Denison (L2 Alum and President of Denison Yacht Sales) and Bob Lupton (Founder of FCS, author and longtime L2 speaker) shared some challenging insights around the topic of COMPASSION.

After years working in ministry to the poor, Lupton noticed alarming trends and realized that both he and others needed a paradigm shift in the way they did ministry.  He shared many of these truths with the Lifework class. A complete overview can be found in his popular book, Toxic Charity.

One Way Giving 

One premise that Lupton discussed  was the progression of One Way Giving – listed below. He highlighted the importance of the old adage, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”

  • Give once = appreciation
  • Give twice = anticipation
  • Give three times = expectation
  • Give four times = entitlement
  • Give five times = dependency

Crisis vs. Chronic 

He indicated that there was a difference between how we respond to crisis situations vs. chronic situations and how we often mix up those two responses – often with disastrous results.

“A crisis need demands emergency intervention. A chronic need requires development. Address a crisis need with a crisis intervention, and lives are savedAddress a chronic need with a crisis intervention, and people are harmed.” 

Lupton reinforced the idea that the leaders in the room had incredible opportunity to influence the way we serve the community through the work they do themselves as well as influencing their churches and the ministries of the boards they serve on.

Oath for Helpers 

Lupton left the class with the “Hippocratic Oath” for Helpers.

  1. I will never do for others what they can do for themselves.
  2. I will limit one-way giving to crises and seek always to find ways for legitimate exchange.
  3. I will seek ways to empower by hiring, lending, and investing and offer gifts sparingly as incentives to reinforce achievements.
  4. I will put the interests of the poor above my own (or organization) self-interest even when it means setting aside my own agenda.
  5. I will listen carefully for spoken and unspoken needs (knowing that many clues may be hidden)
  6. Above all, to the best of my ability, I will do no harm.

We hope that you will ponder these simple lessons from Bob Lupton and allow it to change the way you think about ministry and your place as a business leader in our community.

You can listen to both Bob’s and other L2 talks on our SoundCloud account (available soon).

Alumni – remember that you are always invited back to hear new speakers. Register for various classes HERE.


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