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Mark Zuckerberg announced that he’s giving away 99% of his Facebook shares to charity.

That’s $45 billion dollars.

According to , “The Facebook CEO announced the news in a letter to his newborn daughter, Max. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, created the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Its mission mimics much of what Zuckerberg and Chan’s donations have focused on in the past: personalized learning, curing diseases, and connecting people.”

I know, the number is staggering, but the move is not surprising.

You see, five years ago Zuckerberg signed the “Giving Pledge” — along with other tech billionaires such as Bill Gates — to give away the majority of his wealth.

If Mark Zuckerberg Pledges 99% Of His Facebook Shares To Charity… we need to catch up.

Exactly five years ago I was in a plane, literally laughing out loud as I read through The Year Of Living Biblically. The author, AJ Jacobs, is a well know writer for GQ magazine, who is a self-proclaimed agnostic and was on a quest to live the ultimate biblical life. In his own words, the plan  for the book was to, “follow every single rule in the Bible as literally as possible.”

For 12 months, non stop.

I was amused, entertained and ultimately challenged, specifically after Jacobs began to follow the invitation to give. The very first time he gave away 10% of everything he had earned the year before, he wrote this, “As I gave away money, I think I might have felt God’s pleasure.” 

Said the agnostic guy who followed God’s invitation.

There is a certain joy (and completeness) that can only be experienced through generosity. It looks different for different people. Even when the giving is for “selfish” reasons (to tell everyone on Facebook, to work the tax system, to appear holier than Mother Teresa of Calcutta) the actual experience of giving, releases the pleasure of God.

And in that pleasure, we die to all others.

There are countless Bible verses to prove that God wants to bless us, prosper us, empower us and make us a success.

But we chose in Christ, to give it away.

It’s the way of the cross.

It’s the true gospel.

And in this gospel we surrender our possessions. In the gospel, giving everything away is good news!

If an agnostic writer (who is loved by Jesus) could discover that pleasure, then it’s time for us to discover it even more.

If a guy like Mark Zuckerberg (disliked by most people who have seen the movie The Social Network) can willingly surrender billions of dollars, then it’s time for us to discover it even more.

Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35

Bono, the lead singer of U2, said:

“In these troubled times, Mark and Priscilla’s announcement today is life-affirming and will be life-changing for tens of millions of people. The scope of their commitment will be stunning to many, but to their friends it is not surprising. This is who they are. Community for Mark and Priscilla isn’t just a word, it’s a core value. I can’t wait to see what they achieve, not just with their wealth, but by their example and with their ingenuity, creativity and vision applied to some of the biggest challenges — and opportunities — of our time.”

I’m hoping for Bono to write like that about the church soon. I’m hoping that mega church pastors learn from the CEO of Facebook. I’m hoping that one day I will stop writing about it and become that hope myself.

These stories remind me of a much harder invitation:

“You lack one thing. Go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

The problem with this story is that it is not a parable. It was an actual conversation between a wealthy man and the Messiah of the poor.

The Bible tells us specifically that Jesus looked at the rich young ruler… and loved him. And it was because he loved him that he asked him into the journey of giving it all for others.

To Follow Jesus. To live in true freedom. To be a giver and not a taker.

I read this and I know… Jesus is right. I lack one thing.

And I want that to change.

The church is drowning in a materialistic culture but we can become the champions of extravagant generosity.

This was one the first signs of authenticity in the New Testament church. It was the standard of a people who were full of God and desperate to love one another. It was the nature of those who had been with Jesus.

And it can be (should be) again.

No more lacking.

Let’s begin.

Peace.

“For it is in giving that we receive.” – Francis of Assisi

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And here’s the story of the hippie millionaire in Seattle who tried to replicate a parable from Jesus by raising the minimum wage of all his employees to $70,000 a year. Read More