In recent years, there has been a movement of the world’s wealthiest individuals practicing philanthropy. People like Warren Buffet or Bill & Melinda Gates have committed to using their vast resources to inspire and bring change to the world. Some have committed up to 90% of their wealth to good causes. With the remaining 10% that they live in, they are still very wealthy and lack nothing.

These are exceptional and noteworthy, but I am reminded of what Jesus saw. As he and the disciples stood by watching people bring their gifts to the Temple, he noted the poor widow who gave her last two coins and said that she was the biggest giver of them all. The rich gave because they could afford to and she gave it all because she could.

I have witnessed people in poverty with $5 in their pocket and no more money until the cheque comes in two weeks. If someone else needs a bag of milk, they will give away the last of their money freely. They have learned to find a way every day to survive and are less dependent on money than I am.

Often the poorest people are the most generous. What they lack in money, they will give in time and effort. Our church thrives not because we have a paid staff or millionaire givers, but because we have sacrificial people who serve the Lord day in and day out without pay. Some of them have been chronically unemployed, on disability or are retired. They treat their work for the Lord as a high calling and do it freely.

Volunteer Canada provided the value of $25 per hour for congregational volunteers. That’s what it would cost us if we had to pay for everything that our volunteers do. A good volunteer is worth the same as what I make as a pastor.

(You can watch the full message at http://wearegateway.ca/sermon/community-what-weve-learned-part-2/ )