An acquaintance in suburban Chicago — we’ll call him Rob — has always enchanted young children. The kids of his church have always flocked around him Pied Piper-style.
But Rob has never cultivated friendships with children by the traditional methods — candy and gum, presents and surprises.
Instead, he uses quite an unusual alternative device: work.
“Hi, what’s your name?” Rob asks, crouching down to reach the child’s eye level.
“Andrew,” the little boy answers.
“Andrew, I left my Bible in the front row,” he says. “Would you please go get it and bring it to me?”
Andrew is gone in a shot, and quickly returns with the prize.
“Thank you, Andrew!” Rob crows. “You did a great job! What a great worker you are!”
And the boy wanders away in a haze of pride, beaming in his newfound friendship.
“You don’t make friends by doing things for people,” Rob declares. “You make friends by getting people to do things for you.”
A jaundiced view of life? No — Rob is actually applying a very sound scriptural principle.
If God designed us as givers, we’re happier when we’re giving.
The world is full of takers — people striving to acquire. We get our cars and houses and careers and trophy-spouses and cute children all lined up … and then wonder why we don’t feel fulfilled.
People who learn to give are people who experience fulfillment.
“Give, and it will be given to you,” Jesus said in oft-quoted Luke 6:38. “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
It’s when we’re already full that we can’t receive any more blessings.
In this spirit, we can appeal to our donors with enormous love and care.
Part of our ministry to the donor actually involves inspiring the donor to give because it is good for her.
In Philippians 4:17, Paul explains his motive for requesting financial help: “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.”
Cynicism comes easy, especially in the business of marketing ministries. We could tell ourselves that the donor benefits by giving, and (heh-heh) so do we. So sell her the benefit — promise her the blessing — and reap the reward.
But that’s not where Paul’s head was as he wrote to the Christians at Philippi.
By the time he got to Chapter 4, where he talked about their financial generosity, he had already written Chapter 2 — and squashed the idea of selling “God’s promise of blessing” for selfish gain.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,” he wrote. He “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” He “humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
Then Paul goes on, to make sure we don’t miss the point:
“…Become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.”
Yes, it will help the donor spiritually if she learns to give liberally. But not if she learns to give out of selfish motivation.
We have a responsibility to cultivate in our donors the same love of giving that Christ demonstrated — a willingness to sacrifice, even if it only meant growing closer to the Father.
When we lead our donors down that path — not only by our words, but by our example — our ministries will be stronger, healthier, more effective … and more fulfilling for us to be involved with.
Q: What’s more important than the financial thriving of our ministries?
A: Our own spiritual thriving, and that of our ministry families.
God did not design us as ministry leaders and marketers first, then as His children. He dreamed us up to be His children, and some of the joy of being His children comes from being involved in ministry.
I want to be so committed to a warm, open relationship with my Father that I’m willing to do anything to preserve it … even if that means I have to set aside my ministry.
Is that too extreme? Well, maybe.
Yet Jesus actually gave His life. How extreme was that?
What’s more important than the financial thriving of our ministries? Reach out to BBS & Associates, and let’s talk about not just your ministry’s financial future, but your ministry’s spiritual future.