Australian’s Foreign Aid

AidCurrently Australia spends only 0.3 percent of it’s gross national income on foreign aid. This is significantly behind the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal of increasing the developed world’s foreign aid giving levels to 0.7 per cent by 2015.

People such as Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision in Australia, and even rock star and activist Bob Geldof are currently speaking out about this. You can express your opinion about this issue in a current online poll by clicking here

At CityLife Church, we ensure that 10% (a ‘tithe’) of all of our income is invested outside of our church – into our local community, into world mission activity, and as donations to other like-minded ministries. We have been doing this for over 10 years now and God has blessed us for it.

What would it look like if a nation as rich as Australia gave 10% of it’s income to bless needy countires?

Here are a few Bible verses for further reflection …

Psalm 41:1-2. Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor. The LORD rescues them in times of trouble. The LORD protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity and rescues them from their enemies. NLT

Proverbs 19:17. If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD — and he will repay you! NLT

Proverbs 21:13. Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need. NLT

Proverbs 28:27. Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing. But a curse will come upon those who close their eyes to poverty. NLT

Matthew 25:42-46. Jesus said, "… for I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me no clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me … when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me." NLT

8 Replies to “Australian’s Foreign Aid”

  1. Hi Mark
    I would recommend that if anyone is interested in looking at the topic of foreign aid to visit the website “resistancethinking.com”. This website is set up by Christians and discusses the main issues of the day from a Christian perspective.
    I do agree with you that we need to be generous with the blessings that we have been given but there is a lot more involved in giving aid to other countries than just increasing the amount of money we send to those in need. Sometimes our good intentions can cause more harm than good.

  2. Even 1% would be amazing.
    I disagree with Costello that government should be the catalyst for this change. We spend all day blaming the government and not enough time looking at the personal responsibility of Australians as human beings to take on the load of others.
    I think this whole debate taking place in the media right now has completely missed the point. That is global change will not come from government, it will emanate from the wallets of consumers.

  3. Indeed we should seriously think about our personal responsibility, and not simply ask the government to do everything for us.
    Yet I believe it is not an “either-or” but a “both-and” thing. Australians have been generous, and churches have been generous. But that is not enough. The government should take the initiative.
    Given the fact that more about 30,000 children (under the age of five) die of poverty-related causes each day, there is no reason why we should not increase our overseas aid level.
    Even one more child dying of poverty is not acceptable, let alone 30,000 – each day!
    The issue of foreign aid should not be understood simply in dollar terms though. We want more aid as well as better aid. This is what Micah Challenge and Make Poverty History campaigns are asking.
    Aid money has to be well-targeted. There is expertise out there (with decades of experience in the aid and development sector) to ensure best-practice development work.
    It is true that there are corrupt practices in some places. But that only means that we should get smarter in the way we use the money – ie. ensure that there are checks and balances in place.
    Thus we should urge the government to spend the aid money wisely. Aid should be given to programs that target basic needs and address the root causes of poverty. It should not be used to serve the donor countries’ economic and/or security interests.
    Mark has quoted some very good Scriptures for us. There is another good one, and it is about the “sin of Sodom”! The sin of Sodom is committed if people do not help the poor. Have a look at the article in this link!
    http://www.sightmagazine.com.au/stories/sight-seeing/sodom23.10.07.php
    Siu-Fung

  4. Mark
    Agree with your comments about the blessings that come from helping the poor. And I think the .7% is about doing just that – helping the poor. However if we stop at that nothing will ever change long term. Somewhere in our hearts and minds we have to establish a sense of justice that goes to the core of our worship, our daily living and our sense of what is good and right in the light of Jesus’ call for the Kingdom. Somewhere, within ourselves we also need to establish when enough is enough for us and that Jesus calls for a different set of values from what seems to be driving election promises so far wheeled out this year. I keep being told I need more and more. The drive to do better materially seems insatiable and then I read again those verses you wrote and others about justice like the ones from Amos 5:22 ff I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice–oceans of it. I want fairness–rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.
    When I read that I realise we all have a way to go – even within the church where we are trying to live out kingdom values. Thanks for keeping the challenge in front of us.
    Rob

  5. Thanks Mark. I think you are right to challenge the Christian community to engage with the larger social implications of our Christian faith.
    Christian involvement in Make Poverty History as a social movement, is not unlike the Christian involvement in the abolition of slavery movement(see the movie Amazing Grace – Wilberforce etc). Christians have a long history of active engagement with political debates on behalf of the poor and oppressed.
    “Speak up for those who cannnot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute . . . ddefend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)
    Make Poverty History is not naive, nor has it restricted itself to calls for increased government aid. No-one wants to see aid squandered. Increasingly, government and NGO aid is highly and rightly audited to limit the risk of corruption and wastage. MPH also calls for increased effectiveness in aid as well as fair trade rules and debt relief.
    And, while private individual giving is essential, increased government aid is essential because of the scale and urgency of the challenge. In 2002, personal giving by individuals in Australia came to only 20% of the level of government aid. Levels of individual giving are not anywhere near the same league as government aid.
    Those who question the need for increased aid need to visit some of the families and communities whose lives have been transformed by effective aid projects – kids who are no longer dying of diarrhoea or malnutrition before their fifth birthday; mothers who are no longer dying in pregnancy or childbirth; girls who are no longer missing out on school because they have to walk 6km with a 10 litre bucket of water on their head. These are things we can take for granted.
    Thanks for the reminder for Christians to be at the forefront of this movement.

  6. Hi Mark, it’s good to know CityLife tithes. However, does a Christian mission organization or NGOs need to do tithing? Any Bible versers for me to refer to? Thanks!

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