Deal or No Deal?

Wall Street and Main Street might well be Easy Street compared to the effect the current financial calamity has had on Skid Row (in keeping with the “street” theme––no disrespect intended). With little money to go around these days, perhaps the charitable organizations have been the biggest victims. Some companies have realized this as an opportunity, not just for generosity but for profitability too.

Saturday night, we went to Ruby Tuesday’s with some friends. At the end of dinner, the server solicited a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank through the purchase of a half-dozen cookies. I was familiar with the name of the organization from a story about the shrinking support of charities caused by the worlds economic mess. Earlier in the day, we drove through a shopping center parking lot that was hosting a media-sponsored food drive for Second Harvest. So as you can imagine, my heart was being softened for an organization that is apparently starving for resources. Upon further questioning though, it turns out that the cookies cost $8.99 with only 10% (or about $0.90) going to Second Harvest. WOW––what a lame way to be charitable.

Who would I really be feeding by buying those cookies? $1 to “feed” the hungry and the remaining $8 to feed six cookies to a “healthy” couple still full from a $40 meal. Something about that just didn’t seem right. We did make a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank but it wasn’t through buying cookies (I need a cookie like I need a hole in my head). Through another corporate donor, Harris Teeter (a grocery chain), we purchased two $5 gift cards that will go directly to Second Harvest to be used at their discretion. Here’s how it all adds up:

Option 1:
$40 meal + $10 cookies = $1 donation (or 2% of total cost)

Option 2:
$40 meal + $10 gift cards = $10 donation (or 20% of total cost)

Did we make a good deal? Yes, we made a very good deal! To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). God wants us to be good stewards of what he has entrusted to us. Remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, the man who made the most of what was given him was rewarded generously and the one who did nothing, neither spent it nor invested it, received nothing. Are you making good “deals” with what God has blessed you with?

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