Do you remember the Richard Pryor movie from the 80’s called Brewster’s Millions? Basically he’s set to inherit 300 million dollars but there’s a catch – first he must spend 30 million dollars in 30 days without telling anyone what he’s doing. That really gets you thinking doesn’t it? How would you spend that much money…. It’s easy to dream of vacations, shopping sprees, new house, new cars. But how would you spend it if you wanted to make the best impact on society by donating it all to only one charity or cause?
I had a tough time answering that. I think the first option I would explore would be to identify the 30 poorest counties in our nation. Then put together a team to analyze how one million dollars would make the biggest impact in those communities. Would it be best to spend it on education? Maybe finding ways to add local jobs? Or improve living conditions? Or provide medical attention. Do the food banks need fresh and healthy food? What about foster care funding? Is there a way to tie these things together? If the money was invested to create a type of neighborhood co-op… creating jobs to garden and provide food, building community homes for foster families, community education classes for all ages.
I would want to include my faith. Not in a “let me thump you on the head with my Bible” type of door-to-door witnessing but the quiet kind of faith that is spread through loving on your neighbor. I think if neighborhood co-ops were started by quiet Christians who truly love people, if they they walked along side of their neighbors, played with their kids, taught community cooking classes, organized a clothing swap, gave a ride to a job interview…. If they did these things without judgement, without holding their neighbors hostage with “let me tell you about Jesus” at their door, if they did these things because they loved them – not because they want to add one more number to their team… If they continued to love on their neighbors even after they said NO to the church invite… I think that would make an impact.