Putting the Rich on Notice

Ted Turner recently committed one billion dollars to U.N. efforts over the next decade. Speaking in round figures, that's about one billion dollars more than I even expect to make in the next decade, let alone give to charity.

Still, I have to say, big deal. Charity is cheap—compared to justice. Turner's net worth increased by a tidy one billion dollars in the first nine months of 1997 alone. He was already worth just over two billion dollars at the end of last year, and suddenly it dawns on him, I could give away everything I've made so far this year—and I'd still be obscenely wealthy. And then, riding on the euphoric wave of this insight, he declares, "I'm putting the rich on notice. They're going to be hearing from me about giving money away."

Well, as someone sitting well within the lower tiers of the economy—and as a Christian—I'm unimpressed.

See, Jesus put the rich on notice long before Ted Turner did. Among other things he said, "Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor...; and come, follow me" (Luke 18:22). And "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). And finally, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:25).

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 1998
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