Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Bill And Melinda Gates: "Swing For The Fence" In Giving Away Their Wealth

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released its annual letter yesterday, announcing its key priorities for 2020.

They say a new priority is "climate crises."

A look at their agenda is informative. Even the Pope is meeting privately with Melinda.

Be informed.

Alternating writing in the first person, Bill and Melinda Gates describe some of their experiences over the past 20 years since creating their multi-billion dollar foundation.

The letter begins with this:

When we started our foundation 20 years ago, the world was, in many ways, very different from the one we live in now. It was before 9/11, before the Great Recession, and before the rise of social media.
Then, as now, there was no shortage of worthy causes, and there was a good argument to be made for investing in many of them. We’d known for a while that we wanted to give away the majority of our wealth from Microsoft and use it to make people’s lives better. The challenge, of course, was how to do that in a meaningful and high-impact way.

They also note this:

As always, Warren Buffett—a dear friend and longtime source of great advice—put it a little more colorfully. When he donated the bulk of his fortune to our foundation and joined us as a partner in its work, he urged us to “swing for the fences.”
That’s a phrase many Americans will recognize from baseball. When you swing for the fences, you’re putting every ounce of strength into hitting the ball as far as possible. You know that your bat might miss the ball entirely—but that if you succeed in making contact, the rewards can be huge.
That’s how we think about our philanthropy, too. The goal isn’t just incremental progress. It’s to put the full force of our efforts and resources behind the big bets that, if successful, will save and improve lives.

Here are some of the ways the Gates plan to swing for the fence in 2020.

Climate crises.

"Tackling climate change is going to demand historic levels of global cooperation, unprecedented amounts of innovation in nearly every sector of the economy, wide spread deployment of today's clean-energy solutions like solar and wind, and a concerted effort to work with people who are most vulnerable to adapt to a warmer world," Bill writes.

Bill says he's focusing on "mitigation and adaptation."

Gender equality.

For her part, Melinda says she wants to focus on efforts, particularly on gender equality, including reproductive rights.

Quoting Hillary Clinton, she says,
"Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights" ---the data is unequivocal: "No matter where in the world you are born, your life will be harder if you are born a girl."

She says,
"My journey as a public advocate began with family planning...There are over 200 million women in developing countries that do not want to get pregnant but are not using modern contraceptives."

Her goal this year is to "step up our commitments to family planning" while also developing "strategies that prioritize gender equality."

According to the "National Catholic Register," the Vatican has been "drawing closer" to the Gates Foundation and last November, Pope Francis received Melinda Gates in an unpublicized private audience.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation currently has about $47 billion in its endowment, including funds from their friend Warren Buffett. The Foundation has granted more than $50 billion to their targeted causes---so far.

Bill and Melinda Gates are most likely very sincere---and obviously generous---in their beliefs.

A different view. What if?

What if biblical Christians got up every day with the same commitment to change the world for the better through the propagation of the Gospel?

What if our intensity was even stronger because Jesus Himself commanded we do so?

He said (Matt. 28:19-20):
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo,I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Spiritual transformation.

Cultural change always begins with spiritual change. The Bible leads us to believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is the risen Son of God. The Savior.

Millions of individual lives have been completely changed by receiving Christ into their personal lives.

One well know example is John Newton, who went from being a slave trader to giving us his story in the song, "Amazing Grace."

Cultures are changed one heart at a time.

Cultural transformation.

The late Dr. D. James Kennedy wrote in his book, "What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?"
"Life [in Rome] was expendable prior to Christianity's influence...In those days abortion was rampant. Abandonment was commonplace; It was common for infirm babies or unwanted little ones to be taken out into the forest or the mountainside, to be consumed by wild animals or to starve..They often abandoned female babies because women were considered inferior" (pp-11).

The Romans promoted brutal gladiatorial contests where thousands of slaves, condemned criminals and prisoners of war mauled and slaughtered each other for the amusement of the Romans.

Roman authors wrote openly of the rampant homosexuality among Romans and Greeks, particularly men with boys.

Women were relegated to a low status in society, where they received little to no schooling, could not speak in public and were considered "property" of their husbands.

As biblical Christianity spread, pagan practices were confronted by biblical Truth, people's lives were transformed, and the culture began to change. The status of women changed. The importance of family was significantly elevated. The brutal gladiator events were canceled. Historian Christopher Dawson writes, "This marked the beginning of a new era in world history."

Christianity's impact was not only limited to the West.

The influence of the Bible and its teachings abolished "suttee" in India---the practice of burning widows on the funeral pyre of the husband. It stopped the killing of wives when tribal chiefs died in Africa, it greatly reduced cannibalism and helped to end the global slave trade in the 1800s.

Christianity is often blamed in today's culture for impeding science with "superstition," yet it is Christians who advocated for science because they believed it was the discovery of God's Creation.

Dr. Rodney Stark, a professor of sociology and comparative religions writes, "The leading scientific figures in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries overwhelmingly were devout Christians who believed it was their duty to comprehend God's handiwork."

The charity encouraged in Luke 10: 30-37 eventually blossomed into hospitals, orphanages, homes for the elderly and care for the poor, the hungry, and the homeless.

It's a fact that civilization itself was transformed as one religion spread across the globe, impacting every culture it touched, because biblical Christianity first and foremost changes the heart.

What if, say, 60-80 million evangelicals got up every morning---perhaps this morning--- with the idea that they were going to "swing for the fence" to spread the gospel today? What if we approached every day with the idea of "giving" in regard to our resources?

Sounds great, but I don't have $47 billion in an endowment.

Neither did the little boy at one of Jesus' rallies. It's surprising what a few loaves and fishes can turn into.

Be Informed. Be Inspired. Be Faithful. Be Fruitful. Be Prayerful. Be Led.