Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba, the world’s largest retailer and e-commerce company. His success has made him the richest man in China with an estimated net worth of $38 billion.
He announced today that he has donated one hundred million yuan ($14.4 million) through his foundation to help find a vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus. He has earmarked $5.8 million for two Chinese government research organizations, with the remainder to be used to support “prevention and treatment” measures.
Ma’s donation follows an announcement on Saturday that Alibaba is setting up a one billion-yuan ($144 million) fund to buy medical supplies for the Chinese provinces at the epicenter of the virus outbreak. The company is also offering free AI computing power to scientific research organizations working on a vaccine or treatments.
The power of resourced influence
Jack Ma’s capacity to give is obviously larger than that of nearly every other human on the planet. Nonetheless, his example reminds us of this fact: we all have influence we can leverage for the common good. The question is less how much we have and more how much we are willing to give what we have.
When C. S. Lewis was asked how much a Christian should donate to charitable causes, he responded: “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”
When Jesus was asked which commandment in the Jewish law was greatest, he responded with the Great Commandments to love our Lord and our neighbor (Matthew 22:37–39). His word translated “love” in the Greek New Testament is agape, the unconditional commitment to put the other first. We “love” God when we put him first. We “love” our neighbor “as ourselves” when we put our neighbor first.
What influence has God entrusted to you?
How will you serve someone in need by giving more than you can spare today?