This book took me by surprise. As founder of Orphans First, I was already passionate about concretely loving our global neighbor—but economics, not so much. That word seemed scary. But I was blown away by what I learned from Bruce Wydick in his book, Shrewd Samaritan—Faith, Economics, and the Road to Loving Our Global Neighbor.
Most of us want to do more to help the poor, but we often don’t know the best way to go about it. Should we give, go, serve and whichever we feel led to do, where are our efforts best used? Where will we make the greatest impact with what we have to offer?
Bruce Wydick explores these questions by sharing his prolific research on the diverse impacts of giving. He walks us through the thinking process to help us discover the way or ways in which we are individually called to care for our global neighbor. He gives us the tools to analyze whether our best impact would be in donating time, talent, funds…or all of these.
Not every form of giving has the greatest impact. It is useful to evaluate the best possible way we can do the greatest good with our limited abilities. And then just do it!
The catchy title, Shrewd Samaritan, is a combination of two parables taught by Jesus. We know them best as The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and The Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1-9). As Wydick points out, we all understand the Jesus’ message in his parable of The Good Samaritan. But the Shrewd Manager, that flies over our heads. Why would Jesus commend a dishonest, deceitful trickster? What does he want us to learn from him?
The author tells us, “…money is temporal, but people and relationships are not. He goes on to explain that the Greek word used for worldly wealth in this parable is “mamonos” (“mammon” in the old King James Bible translation). It means more than money; it means our possessions. That certainly adds a deeper meaning. We are accountable to steward our belongings wisely.
Remember how the word “economy” scared me? (All those numbers and spreadsheets.) Well, not any more. Wydick points out that the word “manager” in the Greek is “oikinomon” which means economics. Now that I like.
Shrewd Samaritanis full of helpful examples illustrating diverse ways a person can impact the lives of the poor. He demystifies the call to help and makes it appealing.
The book is published by Thomas Nelson and is in bookstores everywhere. Bruce Wydick is author of several books and professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco.
I highly recommend Shrewd Samaritan. As director of Orphans First, I plan to reread often.
Janey DeMeo M.A.
Copyright © July2019