Commentary: The least of these

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Commentary: The least of these

An e-Review commentary by Tom Wilkinson | Jan. 25, 2010 {1130}

NOTE: A headshot of Wilkinson is available at
In the wake of public outcry over large Wall Street bonuses, the New York Times reported that the investment bank Goldman Sachs is “considering expanding a program that would require executives and top managers to give a certain percentage of their earnings to charity.”

Speculation is that 4 percent will be the required charitable gift. I was hoping for a tithe, but I guess Wall Street bankers don’t read Leviticus, Numbers or Deuteronomy.
That story stood in sharp contrast to a recent study reported in the same newspaper in December. According to Michael Tomasello, a developmental psychologist and co-director of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, “babies are innately sociable and helpful to others. The helping behavior seems to be innate because it appears so early and before many parents start teaching children the rules of polite behavior.” He concludes, “Helping is a natural inclination, not something imposed by parents or culture.”
That’s encouraging, but not really news to anyone who has read the first chapter of Genesis. We claim to be made in the image of God, the ultimate helper and giver of all that we are and all that we have. Giving is one of God’s defining characteristics, so it follows that all of us, made in God’s image, are naturally generous and helpful, too.
And now is the time to activate that spirit of helping and giving. Our brothers and sisters in Haiti, devastated by the catastrophic earthquake and its aftermath, need our help. Our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is on the scene in Port-au-Prince and will stay as long as there is need. You can help with those efforts by giving through your local United Methodist church or directly to UMCOR http:// Visit to learn more about the Florida Conference’s response to the emergency.
Jesus tells us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger and help the sick. In Matthew 25:40 he reminds us, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Our family in Haiti needs our help. Little kids intuitively want to do that. May we all be like little children, especially like the one born in the poverty of a manger, and help. 

News media contact: Tita Parham, 800-282-8011,, Orlando

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Wilkinson is vice president of development for the Florida United Methodist Foundation Inc. in Lakeland, Fla.

Contact Us

The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815

(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011