BN Hot Topic: When Does Charity Become a Burden?

Posted on Thursday, July 4th, 2013 at 3:46 PM

By Atoke

Last week, one of the drivers, Mr. J, came upstairs to our office to share envelopes for raising funds for his church. As he got to one of the desks and shoved the envelope in my colleague’s direction. He shook his head and told him he didn’t want to give. Mr. J looked surprised and said  ‘but it’s for church’. Femi smiled  and asked him if he had stopped to ask him what his religious inclinations were or if his personal beliefs included funding church projects. He replied with”But you’re a Christian now. Why wont you want to give to the work of God”. Femi looked like he was exasperated and was hanging to the last shred of patience in him and with a very calm voice and a straight face said “Thanks Mr. J. I’m not interested in giving. Please don’t leave the envelope on my table”

It was the beginning of a debate.

Why did Femi not want to give to Mr J’s church? Is he a pagan? Is he saying that he didn’t have 500 Naira to contribute to the work of the Vineyard? Did someone not see him ordering pizza from Debonairs the day before?

It went on and on with everyone having an opinion on why Femi wasn’t giving to what was prima facie a good cause.

A lot of times, I find that human beings constantly need for you to justify your actions to them. This isn’t a completely irrational expectation seeing as humans exist and interact in the same space and therefore sociologists would explain that it is only natural when this happens.

However, it made me think about the concept of charity and the many facets of it. In order for there to be a balance of existence, there will always be HAVES and HAVE NOTS in every facet of society and man would always want for something. One, therefore, wonders if there’s a strict rule which says the needs of the HAVE NOTS must strictly be met by the HAVES. I ask this because it gets to a point when charity no longer becomes a voluntary act but one where one is expected to perform or risk being an outcast in the society.

I have often advocated for brightening the corner where you are because I believe that my life should count for something positive. However, I don’t believe that this brightening should ALWAYS be monetary.  I also don’t believe that charity is something within the exclusive purview of “rich people” because who defines what amounts to wealth anyway? Is it judged by the number of wrist watches I have or by the number of times Femi orders pizza in a month?

At what point does charity become a burden as opposed to an act of love? Is one supposed to justify causes one chooses to give to because of how one is perceived? Am I under any obligation to the association of widows in Ogbomosho just because I’m from there? Is it compulsory that Femi gives to any and every church program that he’s asked to  because he’s a Bible thumping Christian? What if I like to buy books for little primary school children? Does it matter that I haven’t given the displaced children of  Benue flood and I choose to concentrate on the kids of Ewenla primary school near my house? What if Remilekun chooses to put a smile on battered Funmilola’s face by taking her to the movies instead of giving her 500k to rent a house? Does it make it less of an act of love?

Who determines what is actually charitable and what is not? Is there a script that charity must follow in order for it to be the Alpha Male of all charities?

What do you guys think? Let’s discuss!

Photo Credit: madamenoire.com

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  • 42 Comments on “BN Hot Topic: When Does Charity Become a Burden?”

    Comments
    • Abana July 4, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      Just to bible thump a bit, Paul said ‘If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing’.
      Do whatever your conscience tells you to. Do whatever charitable acts you want to do in love. Thats all. What people think or feel is tertiary.

      • Abana July 4, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        On a lighter note, I hope no one would choose to take a battered woman to the cinema when they can give her 500k to rent a house. If you can go beyond talking and all you do is talk, you have failed. If you can afford to give someone 500k but you spend just 1k on a cinema ticket, thats not charity, thats hanging out.

        • P July 5, 2013 at 12:29 AM

          I’m sorry. I feel like U just contradicted yourself. Even if you can afford to give 500K and your conscience tells U to take her to the movies. It isn’t less charitable. And it isn’t “JUST” 1k. It’s still the person’s hard earned money. I have an issue with people “spending” other people’s money and Nigerians, unfortunately, love to do this. None of what I’ve said is from a religious point of view. I give no credence to religious institutions. No one I work with would bring an envelop to me asking for a donation for their church. They would get laughed at. Just my 2 cents.

    • Myne Whitman July 4, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Nobody should be forced to justify their actions and especially when it comes to charity. Giving should be from the heart, be it in action, or using cash. And for some of us, maybe like Femi, who chose to keep their giving private, others should respect that. Nice one, Atoke :)

    • Oyen'ke July 4, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      Been watching out for your hot topic Atoke, now will scroll up and enjoy it.

    • comment awaiting moderation July 4, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      Christianity has been so bastardize that every so called preachers ask for offering after doing some little prayer abi na preaching especially in the bus…I know their motive right on the go,I don’t even pay attention to them most of the time! “Nigeria are gullible religionist,Religion in nigeria has always been a sham,perpetrated on the common followers,man is a hopeless being,best misled through religion!

    • Ajoke July 4, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      I think people should give to causes they believe in, end.

    • ally July 4, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      like my uncle will say religion has become more of a routine. I blive if at all you wnt to give sometin it shld be out of love and wat your conscience tells you to do but this days its as though we re been forced to donate t
      o one tin or the other.

    • Tee July 4, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Hmmmn! OJB, Wizkid and other celebs…i see where this is going. Lol.

    • Misbah July 4, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      Talking about OJB, we have heard that Rivers Governor has agreed to foot his medical bills. Is he now morally compelled to give out the 8M+ he has raised in charity? #JustWondering

      • c July 5, 2013 at 8:53 AM

        i think he is morally compelled to give out the 8m he had gotten from charity bearing in mind that he doubled the total amount for what he called “maintenance for one year”

    • TA July 4, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      @ Abana,thank you! Wish there was a like button.
      Just to add that there are those who give of their times and energy to help others. For instance,there are those who volunteer to teach children at orphanages,these are real charitable givers in my opinion. But some persons donate 2 cartons of noodles to same orphanage and take it to the press! Doesnt the bible teach giving without blowing a trumpet about it,hence you lose God’s blessings?! Oh well!!!

    • slice July 4, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      i’m having a hard time with this fun topic right as we announce the death of a wedding industry partner – Nike

    • Neo July 4, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      I believe strongly that charity begins at home. Some people come out publicly to make donations to charity but ignore the needs of their immediate family. I’m not saying don’t give to outsiders but I will need some convincing as to your motives if you give to public projects and ignore the needs of those in your immediate circle.

      No one should be harassed into giving, it is not a responsibility that should be ascribed to one class of people who “have”. If 200M people give N20, it is better than one person giving N200M.

    • Me July 4, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      I believe whatever one decides to do, it should be because he/she WANTS to not because they feel obligated , pressured or even emotionally blackmailed to do so..if the case is the latter, than i think the purpose of charity has been lost. It has has nothing to do with how rich or poor a person is, charity no matter how small or big is still charity and shouldn’t be limited to just the wealthy folks.
      However, i also cannot condemn anyone who decides not to give as that is not a standard to determine a person’s state of heart. If you look at the situation in Nigeria sef, sometimes,these ‘funds’ actually end up in the pockets of individuals like Mr. J. and not to the Have-nots it was directed at. This can be discouraging to most people. In my own opinion, giving out of love and because you WANT to is the definition of true charity.

    • Ada Nnewi July 4, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Hmmm The OJB saga easily comes to mind…IMHO, his supporters bashing people to give was totally WRONG on all levels!

    • Aibee July 4, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      Atoke, now I’m convinced you live in my hood. I attended Ewenla primary school.

      On the topic, as Apostle Paul said/wrote – let everyman give as he has proposed in heart. Not grudgingly or of necessity for God loves a cheerful giver. Shikena.

      • Atoke July 4, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        :D Yeah you mentioned it on one post where I was lamenting about our LGA chairman who lives on my street. :p We should totally do an area “parapo”.

        • Anonymous July 17, 2013 at 11:34 AM

          wait does that mean y’all live at Charity? I attended the Command Secondary School around there

    • X- Factor July 4, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      My Thoughts:
      No one really sets the standards here, or better put, I really don’t think there is a standard rule to this. However, I want to believe that Psychology provides some significant insight into this. Some people are naturally soft hearted and gifted at giving, while some are a lot more logical with their actions (e.g people who have a mental preference with the combination ENFP under the MBTI personality types actually derive loads of fulfilment, energy and joy from giving or helping. However, this doesn’t make one person better than the other, Its just the way we are wired, In my opinion, it boils down to individual differences which also may have been influenced by Backgrounds, Exposure and Experience….
      PS: Pardon my jargon, MBTI personality types can be researched on google

    • Danie July 4, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      As far as I’m concerned, people should not be forced to give, esp if you don’t feel led to do it. Because even if its a million naira you give and its out of compulsion, God doesn’t regard it. And btw, every wrong on the surface of planet Earth cannot be corrected by one person (you do realise that you are supposed to invest money as well, at the risk of sounding cruel). With that being said, you should not be “akagum” as well

    • ade July 4, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      Pple talk abt OJB. Who have risen to the case of 1 of d Bracket guy down with cancer n undergoing treatment presently. Give according to how u want. Your term n not someone else.

    • jbots July 4, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      What exactly is the point being made here? Can somebody please tell me the difference between love and charity? Love means giving as giving means love – can charity and love be mutually exclusive? Nobody expects you to give to all the 50 million charities of the world – you obviously would not have the resources to do so even if you wanted to – but giving to your driver’s church project, or whatever charitable causes you come across will not take anything from you. Who knows, maybe giving N10 a day will take your troubles away. The bigger picture – and I suppose the more valid argument – would be how much to give (N20 change from your pizza vs N500 for an entire pizza).

    • Soraya July 5, 2013 at 12:10 AM

      I am deeply disappointed in my fellow Nigerians- of all the comments people could make about the merits of whether to or not to give, nobody thought to ask why a driver was going around asking for donations DURING working hours? Has religion really blinded the minds of Nigerians? There is nothing wrong with sourcing for donations but it should not be done during office hours and if I were the driver’s manager, I would sack him on the spot for professional misconduct! Furthermore, why was the driver allowed access into the main office?

      • Ostracized July 5, 2013 at 8:19 AM

        I know oh. I went to visit naija and my parents gave me an opportunity to interview a candidate. I asked him, do you have family members we could contact in case anything went wrong at work / with you? Na so dude begin pray oh. Saying, I rebuke such IJN. Errrrrrrrrr, so do you or you don’t. I am a christian but I hate to have too many Christians at work.
        They always have vigil, prayer meeting, you confront them that something is missing at work and they bring in the name of Jesus, they feel its their right to have a day off because of rccg convention, sharing flyers etc.

      • Priscy July 5, 2013 at 8:59 AM

        Biko take it easy..why won’t the driver be allowed access to the main building?

      • Anonymous July 5, 2013 at 9:14 AM

        Tough madam, why was the driver allowed access into the office? he is a staff member. Hmmm no love atall

      • Miss Anonymous July 5, 2013 at 9:47 AM

        Soraya this your government is harsh o! :-)

      • Mz Socially Awkward... July 5, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Soraya, I don’t think we should castigate Nigerian work places just because someone came to ask for donations during work hours. I don’t work in Nigeria and over here, people also do this, although they don’t necessarily quarrel with you if you don’t give them anything.

        We get emails at all hours of the working day from people running the Race for Life 5K/10K, the Baker Huges 5K/10K, different sorts of marathons, cycling somewhere, hiking up some hill, etc and we’re asked to visit justgiving.com to make a donation for the sake of one charity or the other. Heck, someone once did a skyjump from a plane to raise money for homeless & battered dogs. Even the MD dey send his email join and we go kukuma click on the link to donate our few ££.

        No be only email, sometimes people go bring some kain £1 lotto sheets (or whatever they’re called) around to your desk asking you to pick a horse or something like that, say na for charity. You go pay your £1, pick horse, knowing it’s all for a good cause. Or bake cakes to sell for charity (again, another MD I’ve worked with has done that as well, im talk say na im daughter bake am to raise money for her school and as na MD, all of man pikin just go buy the cake, drop our money).

        So I wouldn’t judge the Nigerian environment too harshly, na worldwide office culture.

      • Anonymous July 17, 2013 at 11:38 AM

        wait does that mean y’all live at Charity? I attended the Command Secondary School around there

        Okay, calm down. He’s a driver and obviously had no where to drive anyone to at that time. As to allowing him into the main office, haba lots of offices practice the open door policy where people of all levels interact politely with each other. U don’t expect people to only work between 9-5 now, be realistic

    • nnenne July 5, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Giving in my opinion is not a function of having what to give but the heart to give. Giving should not be done grudgingly or under duress.

    • Glossy July 5, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      @ X-Factor, u have said it all! Give if u are a gifted giver, if u are the logical type good for u!

    • Berry Dakara July 5, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      I think you should give if you want to.

    • Mariaah July 5, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      I think we as human beings should put religion aside for a minute and help those we can help. I use the B.R.T bus to work almost everyday I go to town “igboro” from Kubwa and there’s this lady that preaches about giving, helping the less-privileged. That’s her ministry, everyday, all the time and I try to drop small change everyday.

      So I decided to go for the mission for June; a visit to the orphanage home (Unity home along Gwagwalada rd b4 UniAbuja).

      Personally, I don’t have much. I have siblings to cater for; we are orphans too but naturally I always feel compelled to give. I told my kid sister and she added some cash, advised we add one of the small portable bag of rice we had at home.

      Although it wasn’t my first time of going to an orphanage but it was emotional for me, while I met Cute always crying Mary&Martha, ever smiling Favour (my main baby.. OMG! She can smile! :) Just 6mnths) Bright and others.. I reflected on a lot, God’s mercy, favor, grace, provision that I could provide..

      Forget religion! Giving is an act of humanity. Do your part. Heck! I’m pretty sure atheist give to charity too, people that do not even believe in creation or is it God sef..

    • Aderonke July 5, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      This is one topic i have been hoping I can share my thoughts. Pls pardon my long epistle. I think charity work should not be a burden but should be our way of life and a privilege to help make sum1′s life better but not at the expense of our lives. I tell people around me that “giving is a gift” and so it should come effortlessly with cheerfulness. It can be in different forms not necessarily in cash. Like orphanage homes were abandoned kids are catered for, some young people work as volunteers without pay to take care of these kids and in so doing they are giving energy and time as well. Isn’t that giving or charity as well? I think the major challenge our society has is “MONEY”. We see it as the only solution to everything we are going through. Like the example Atoke gave, the driver’s church necessary do not have to collect only cash for their church building, they should allow people bring in material things like cement, gravels etc. Secondly Trust, this is another major character we lack in this part of the world and is basically because our focus is too much on “MONEY”. This has made so many of us greedy and selfish because we believe that’s the only thing that can solve our problems. So we want to keep acquiring at the expense of other people’s sweat
      I think for us to trust each other again and give each other support when the need arises is to shift our focus away from “MONEY” as our only tool to support each other or help. We need to let people know that if we want to help a cause we can also donate material things. And people can also get feedback on these materials been giving out justifiably , then donating money will come with no hype or psyching. It will come when we can see that is truly for a cause.
      I am not saying money isn’t needful to help, it is extremely needful sef but to refocus our charity works and the channels of raising funds, I just think we need to show people other ways we can support each-other and as well rebuild our trust and faith in each other again
      My friends & I run an NGO for the past 7years and our major support come from material donations and as well money too but I focus majorly for donations is on the materials by listing out the needs and when the fund come the donors tell us what particular need to use it for and we give them feedback via pictures etc on what their sacrifice is been used for. I can tell you that for the past 7years it has helped us in supporting many orphanage homes using this means and has built people’s trusts in us over the years.
      Lets give money little value and increase our credibility with trust, charity will come effortlessly

    • Naveah July 5, 2013 at 4:15 PM

      I live in a place where any money given to a charitable organization including a church is tax deductible so I don’t have issues giving because at the end of the year, I get my tax document from the organization, I get all of my tithes/offering tallied by the church and give it to my accountant for the government to give me back a portion of it. In Nigeria, I don’t think there is such a thing. When you give you don’t even get a newsletter telliing you where your money went for all you know you just help fund the pastor’s petrol fund for his private plane.

      Listen to your heart and give to whom you feel like giving and don’t feel bad about it if you don’t want to give either. You work hard for your money and you should be able to determine what you care to spend it on. It is between you and your God. If you have time to give then do it and if it’s money and gifts do it but don’t let anyone guilt you into doing anything you don’t feel like doing.

    • Miss Phoebz July 5, 2013 at 4:15 PM

      Sipping on my ribena….*waiting for more comments*

    • mujer casada July 6, 2013 at 3:11 AM

      Giving has to come from the heart. the donor has to first experience empathy for the recipient or person asking. However, we tend to forget that our empathy bottle is not always filled to brim. We can exhaust it from pouring out frequently. I have a friend who is very generous. He is sustaining over 200 people out of his generosity – pikin dey die, I need surgery, I fall from bike, we need burial money, pikin no get school books, etc. The situation in the economy is so dire that when you have money, there is a constant barrage of requests for assistance. You do get exhausted. You do feel overwhelmed with all the sorry stories. Don’t mean you don’t love em or what to help em. You actually start experiencing depression and sometimes you have to remove yourself so that you can recover emotionally. So when someone is unresponsive, please don’t condemn until you hear from them directly about their lack of interest or action. Mind you they also have their own problems and when you have money, RARELY does any Nigerian ever ask you if everything is alright in a meaningful way because we equate wealth with happiness. Unfortunately, that is so untrue. Yeah. Rich people have emotional needs and need the ndo and sorry oh as much as recipients of charity do.

    • Peaches77 July 6, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      Giving , helping the less privileged, sharing, these are what we have been called by God to do more than the so called tithing / buying expensive perfumes for the pastors etc. If the love of God is shed abroad in your heart, giving will be too easy even if you may be called mumu.

    • larz July 12, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      This Christmas a friend asked me to give gifts to kids in a charity do she was organising. I told her I cudnt as I had other similar projects I was sponsoring. She feltI can still add a little to her project if only just a little.

      Thats not why I support charity. If I feel drawn to the course of kids in war thorn countries instead of kids here with family that r in hospital, that is ok. If instead of donating to building my church I choose to sposor widows/ orphans/ earthquake/ tsunami. Charity isnt about supporting those you know in their projects but sponsoring what you belive in.

    • Diadem July 12, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      Giving shouldnt be felt as a burden by d giver. It shud be out of love & interest. Wen u give grudgingly or out of wot pple may/may nt say, it is nt charity/love. As God-fearing pple, it shud be part of us to give & support pple we re bera dan but let it be done willingnly & nt by compulsion; for only then can ur gifts be charitable

    • Onondje bathsheba July 17, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      lol at the news letter and fuel for private jet loooooooooooool