Spirituality of Fund-raising Part 7

The Already/Not Yet of the Kingdom

What a moment for the people of Jerusalem!  What a statement from Jesus!

This “very large crowd” who greeted Jesus so enthusiastically as He rode in on the back of a young donkey had a very definite idea about why He had come to Jerusalem in the way He did.  It was obvious to them – here was their political saviour, a warrior King.  They were excited; at last they had someone who might lead a revolution against the Romans.

But it wasn’t to be.  Perhaps some in the crowd realised this because Jesus came riding on a donkey – a symbol of peace.  Also by going straight to the temple to confront the corruption of prayer, rather than to the Roman fortress to confront the unwanted rulers, Jesus showed that He wasn’t going to be their political leader and warrior king.

The Kingdom Jesus ushers in is not the same as the way the world understands the word “Kingdom”.  His kingdom is one of peace and reconciliation, one where there is no worry and total unity.  But some things had to happen before this could come about, namely His death on a cross.

Now over the last few weeks I have often spoken about extending God’s Kingdom here through the ministry of fund-raising and our vision and mission.  The moment someone makes a commitment to Christ they become part of this Kingdom.  So what is this Kingdom, and how should Christians live while on earth?  Part of the answer is that we have to learn how to live in this world and in the heavenly Kingdom at the same time.  We’re living in an “already but not yet” moment!

The truth is this: Christ has defeated Satan—He’s reigning at the right hand of God currently – yet there remains work to be done before that reign is fully realised.  Enemies still exist – chiefly, death. Of course, this isn’t the first time God’s people have been in such a situation. In 1 Chron. 10: 13-14, we see that the kingdom of the first Shepherd-King, David, was inaugurated without being fully consummated.

His predecessor, Saul, was struck down by the Lord and the kingdom was “turned over” to David.  Yet, while this main foe was defeated, and David was soon to be anointed King (11:3), it wasn’t until sometime later (chapter 18) that all his enemies were completely conquered, and his kingdom fully realised.  So how did Israel live in the already/not yet of David’s kingdom during the time their land was claimed by two competing authorities – David’s and Saul’s?

As they lived this “already, not yet” existence, so do we.  Every square inch of the universe, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan. In riding into Jerusalem on a donkey Jesus defeated sin, death, and the devil.  Eternal life, the Kingdom of God for all, was brought into the world two thousand years ago!  Yet, we’re still waiting for that salvation to be fully realised.  As believers we can know and live a full spiritual life now, but we will also still taste physical death, but one day that won’t be.  Our salvation will be total – spiritual and physical.  All things will be made new.  On that day, when the Kingdom is fully realised, Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away.

To use Jesus’ parable (Matthew 13:33 & Luke 13:20-21), we’re still waiting for the yeast of the Kingdom to make its way fully through the dough of the world.  But make its way it will, and indeed, is.  This is the already/not yet tension believers must learn to live in.  Salvation is here, salvation is coming.  So Christ’s reign has been inaugurated, but it is not consummated.

This is the position God’s people found themselves in when David is anointed King, because Saul’s reign is still in effect.  Yet it appears that in responding to the Holy Spirit many people came and pledged their support to David.  So to live faithfully in this present age, we need the Holy Spirit. (1 Chron. 12:18ff).  Knowledge is important, indeed vital, for we cannot witness without it, but to be effective witnesses we need the power and the anointing of the Spirit.  Otherwise we won’t be able to discern between that which is of the world and that which is of God’s age to come.

Secondly, the people lived in unity.  In the battles that led to David’s triumph, those who were working toward that end lived in harmony:

All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king. (1 Chron. 12:38).

Now, I’m sure there were still differences of opinion within the ranks as to strategy etc., but the point is obvious: they all wanted the same thing, to see the reign of the anointed one of God fully realised.  God’s people today are called to no less a mission, and therefore should have no less a unity.  This is the already/not yet position believers find themselves in today – Christ’s kingdom is here, but still coming.

Indeed, the surest sign that we have the Spirit is that we’re living in unity.  We are a people of Pentecost: we have the spiritual language of understanding.  However, sadly Christians are marked more by in-fighting than by evangelising the nations.  This tells us how much we’ve taken our eyes off of the main objective: to have Christ’s reign recognised by every tongue, nation, and tribe through gospel-proclamation and acts of mercy.

It appears also that the people of David’s day lived unworried and with understanding.  They lived unworried because “there were, plentiful supplies of flour, fig cakes, raisin cakes, wine, oil, oxen and sheep, for there was joy in Israel” (1 Chronicles 12:39-40).

In a sense, the people’s joy is odd.  There are still battles to be fought, still enemies who schemed and plotted.  Yet, their hope was in the chosen ruler whom God supplied.  Why would they be worried by the straggling defenders of a collapsing dynasty?

As Christians we are in the same position – we too are fighting from a position of victory, of abundance.  The battle is won: the enemy’s head has been crushed under the bruised foot the Messiah!  We should never let the current upheavals and uncertainty of the world lead us to forget that the One who raised Jesus from the dead is with us, fighting our battles, winning our victories.  Christians, like Israel of old, should be known as a people of great joy, even during trying times.

Finally, they lived with understanding.  Though God was the One who finally brought about David’s total reign, Israel nevertheless played a part in God’s kingdom-project.  The sons of Issachar are a perfect example of this.  They were known as “men…, who understood the times” (12:32).  Their discernment is being commended, for it is really important to understand the times in which we live, and to understand what those times require.

In a day in which information moves at the speed of light, trust in our political institutions is at an all-time low, and the family is disintegrating before our very eyes, the church is desperately in need of more “sons of Issachar”, people who can interpret our culture, as well as interpreting Scripture, so we can better understand the dangers and opportunities of our times.

One greater than David has come: He came riding on a donkey to shouts of acclamation.  He conquered His enemies and all things have been placed in subjection to Him.  While the principalities and powers of the old order hold on by their fingernails, we as Christians can live confidently in God’s Kingdom because it is both present and future, here and coming, already and not yet.  The Lamb who was slain has begun His reign. Alleluia!

Living thoughts

This is your opportunity to spend time alone with God.  The more time you spend with Him the more you will get to know Him as He reveals more of who He is to your heart, soul and spirit.  This time will be personal and wholly unique to your faith journey with Him.

Read again the two passages from Scripture: 1 Chronicles 10:1-6, 13-14, and Mark 11:1-11, and let them speak to you afresh in light of God’s Kingdom.  As God speaks to you, why not write in your journal what you sense God is saying to you?

The benefit of writing down your thoughts helps you to check them against Scripture, and then plants them more firmly in your heart and mind than just simply thinking on things.

Can I ask you to consider these questions based on this week’s sermon:

  1. How have you experienced God’s Kingdom in your daily life?  Over the last few weeks has your understanding of God’s Kingdom changed?
  2. Can you think of times when you have experienced God’s Kingdom as “already but not yet”?  How did that make you feel?

Go into a quiet place and invite God to show you how He wants you to respond this question.

As you ponder on it why not write down your thoughts and share any reflections with others.

Prayer Response

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;

teach me to serve you as you deserve,

to give and not to count the cost,

to fight and not to heed the wounds,

to toil and not to seek for rest,

to labour and not to seek reward,

except that of knowing that I do your will.

Amen.

St. Ignatius Loyola

Spirituality of Fund-raising Part 6

Prayer and Gratitude

Today we’re looking at prayer and gratitude.  Prayer is essential to a Christian and needs to be learnt as a discipline as we grow in our daily walk with Jesus.

There have been many occasions when I have known the importance of prayer in my life, no more so than when we were experiencing difficulties with the challenging behaviour our oldest daughter Rachel was exhibiting as a teenager!  We didn’t know where to start.  Actually we didn’t know how to pray, let alone where to start!  Eventually I realised that we should ask God how He wanted us to pray.  That was what we He was saying to us – “Ask me how to pray”!

When I did this He gave a clear and simple strategy and vision: praise Him for Rachel.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Anything more would have meant that I was overstepping the boundaries He was clearly setting out for us.  Anything less would have been an act of rebellion toward God.

We really didn’t want to do this, because her behaviour was testing us to the limit.  But when we got on board with God’s vision and strategy for how He wanted us to deal with, and pray for Rachel we gradually began to see a positive change.  So much so that Rachel herself, after about three months, asked us what we were doing because she could see that we had changed and that she also could see that she herself was changing for the better.  When we confessed what we were doing, because God had told us so, she did stomp off, but we were undeterred!  We’d got in the habit of praising God for her, so we held on and remained obedient to the vision and strategy God had given us.  He was true to His word.

Praying in a disciplined way, the way God had commanded us to pray, meant that we went from hostility and suspicion to hospitality and greater love for Rachel.  We were grateful for Rachel in a new way.  We had a new attitude of gratitude toward Rachel.

I know we weren’t praying for money with Rachel, but we couldn’t have done this if our security base in God wasn’t strong, so how do we become people whose security base is God and God alone?  How can we stand confidently with rich and poor alike on the common ground of God’s love?  How can we ask for money without pleading, and call people to a new communion without coercing?  How can we express not only in our way of speaking but also in our way of being with others the joy, vitality, and promise of our mission and vision?  In short, how do we move from perceiving fund-raising as an unpleasant but unavoidable activity to recognising fund-raising as a life-giving, hope-filled expression of ministry?

For us, with Rachel, prayer was the spiritual discipline through which our hearts and minds were converted from hostility and suspicion to hospitality and greater love for Rachel.  Our thoughts and attitudes about her were reoriented toward God, and not self.  So, with regard to fund-raising the same principle applies; prayer is the spiritual discipline through which our mind and heart is converted from hostility and suspicion to hospitality toward those who have money.  Gratitude is the sign that this conversion is spreading into all aspects of our life.  From beginning to end, fund-raising as ministry has to be grounded in prayer and undertaken in gratitude.

Prayer is the radical starting point of fund-raising because in prayer we slowly experience a reorientation of all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves and others.  To pray is to desire to know more fully the truth that sets us free (see John 8:32).  It helps us discover the truth of our identity in Jesus.  For us with Rachel, God’s truth was to praise Him for her.  So, prayer has the power to uncover the hidden motives and unacknowledged wounds that shape our relationships.  As we praised God Barbara and I had a lot of confessing to do in regards to the mistakes we’d made in bringing Rachel up.  The Good News of prayer is that it allows us to see ourselves as God sees us.

Prayer is radical because it uncovers the deepest roots of our identity in God.  In prayer we seek God’s voice and allow God’s word to penetrate our fear and resistance so that we can begin to hear what God wants us to know.  And what God wants us to know is that before we think or do or accomplish anything, before we have much money or little money, the deepest truth of our human identity is this: “You are my beloved son.  You are my beloved daughter. With you I am well pleased” (see Luke 3:22).  When we can claim this truth as true for us, then we also see that it is true for all other people who claim this to be true for themselves, regardless of who they are, and what we think of them.  God is well pleased with us, and so we are free to approach all people, the rich or the poor, in the freedom of God’s love.  Whether people respond to our fund-raising appeal with a “Yes,” a “No,” or a “Maybe” is less important than the knowledge that we all are gathered as one on the holy ground of God’s generous disposition toward us.  In prayer, therefore, we learn to trust that God can work fruitfully through us no matter where we are or who we are with.

So, God commands us to be grateful; it is for our benefit, not His, that we are.  If you list out the ways God has loved you – He saved you, redeemed you, made a way for you, has forgiven you, lives in you, is transforming you, welcomes you into heaven, – we will be reminded of the magnitude of His love for us.

Hebrews 13:15 says,

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name.”

In this context, what is confession?  It is acknowledging and recognising God’s hand at work, which in turn requires looking for the places where God is at work.  It’s easy to go through the day focused on self; what I am trying to accomplish, overcome, or fix?  A posture of gratitude keeps my thoughts focused on God and what He is doing in me and around me.  It reminds me that I am not alone.

Gratitude is all about paying attention.  It’s a habit of noticing, and responding to what God is doing.  Becoming continually God-focused and grateful takes practice.

As our prayer deepens into a constant awareness of God’s goodness, the spirit of gratitude grows within us.  Gratitude flows from the recognition that who we are and what we have are gifts to be received and shared.  Gratitude releases us from the bonds of obligation and prepares us to offer ourselves freely and fully for the work of the Kingdom.  When we approach fund-raising in a spirit of gratitude, we do so knowing that God has already given us what we most need for life in abundance.  Therefore, our confidence in our mission and vision, and our freedom to love the person to whom we are talking about donating money, do not depend on how that person responds.  In this way, gratitude allows us to approach a fund-raising meeting without grasping neediness and to leave it without resentment or dejection.  Coming and going, we can remain secure in God’s love with our hearts set joyfully on His eternal Kingdom.

Living thoughts

This is your opportunity to spend time alone with God.  The more time you spend with Him the more you will get to know Him as He reveals more of who He is to your heart, soul and spirit.  This time will be personal and wholly unique to your faith journey with Him.

Read again the two passages from Scripture, (Psalm 100 and John 5:18-23), and let them speak to you afresh in the light of giving, stewardship, fund-raising as ministry and developing an attitude of gratitude.  As God speaks to you, why not write in your journal what you sense God is saying to you.

The benefit of writing down your thoughts helps you to check them against Scripture, and then plants them more firmly in your heart and mind than just simply thinking on things.

Please consider these questions based on this week’s sermon:

  1. How do we become people whose security base is God and God alone?
  2. How do we move from perceiving fund-raising as an unpleasant but unavoidable activity to recognising fund-raising as a life-giving, hope-filled expression of ministry?

Go into a quiet place and invite God to show you how He wants you to respond this question.

As you ponder on it why not write down your thoughts and share any reflections with others.

Prayer Response

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;

teach me to serve you as you deserve,

to give and not to count the cost,

to fight and not to heed the wounds,

to toil and not to seek for rest,

to labour and not to seek reward,

except that of knowing that I do your will.

Amen.

St. Ignatius Loyola

Spirituality of Fund-raising Part 5: A New Communion

In Henri Nouwen’s book “The Spirituality of Fund-raising” we read this…

“People have such a need for friendship and for community that fund-raising has to be community-building.”

Now when we’ve done fundraising here in this parish one comment that I hear over and over again is that it has drawn us closer together.  This seems to be said regardless of how much money is raised by a single event.

Last week I spoke about asking people for money, saying that when we do this we are to do it from the viewpoint that we want them to help us strengthen and expand the work of God’s Kingdom here.  When we do this we are also inviting them into a new spiritual communion.  This is very important.  In Paul’s letter to the Romans we read:

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Rom. 8:22-23, NIV).

The New Jerusalem Bible has this as the last part to v23; “waiting with eagerness for our bodies to be set free”.

Because we are made in the image of God this groaning comes from deep within us, and as God has created all things this groaning comes from within all creation.  It is the sound of a yearning for all things to be in glorious communion with God and with one another, a communion that transcends the limitations of time and space.  If we are not careful, we limit God but He is bigger than all of us put together. 

In times such as these I believe that God is calling us to step out of the limitations that we impose on Him and on ourselves.  We think that we have to be in physical proximity with others in order to sense God in worship.  I just don’t believe that.  Yes, worshipping corporately with others is truly amazing and powerful, but when we can’t do this because of Covid-19, God has the power to transform us so that even when we’re either reading a weekly service on our own or with A. N. Other, or when we are watching a service online we can still experience His supernatural divine presence drawing us ever closer to Him, and one another.  After all, by His Word He brought absolutely everything into being!  By His Word He raised His Son from the dead, so defeating death, and at the same time flinging wide open the doors to Heaven to allow all who put their faith and trust in Him as their Saviour and Lord to enter in and bask in eternal life in fellowship with Him, His Son and the Holy Spirit!  The good news, though, is we enter into this eternal life the moment we personally confess and profess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

This groaning, therefore, expresses God’s passionate yearning for communion with us and with all that He created.  God desires; “that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:21, NIV).

This is the freedom of true spiritual communion.  When fund-raising and asking for money we have an opportunity to call people into this communion with us.  We are saying, “We want you to get to know us.”

When we’re gathered together by a common yearning, we begin to know this communion in a deeper way as we move together toward our vision.  Our vision here involves taking on a Children and Families Worker to help and encourage us all to draw families and young people deeper into this fellowship and communion with God.  Why?  Because being in communion with God is amazing and worth inviting others to experience for themselves.  Remember the parable of the hidden treasure and pearl? (Matthew 13:44-46).

To me this is spiritual communion manifesting itself in a concrete way.  When fund-raising as ministry calls people together in communion with God, and with one another, it will hold out the real possibility of friendship and community.  Covid-19 has clearly shown us that people have such a need for friendship and for community, therefore fund-raising has to be community-building.  Do we really realise that as Jesus’ Church here, community is one of the greatest gifts we have to offer to all people?

So, if we ask for money, it means that we offer a new fellowship, a new way of belonging.  We have something to offer – an opportunity for all to know the transforming power of Jesus in their personal lives through friendship, prayer, peace, love, fidelity, affection, and ministry with those in need.  These things and so much more are so valuable, and when people catch it for themselves many are willing to make their resources available to sustain them.  Therefore, fund-raising must always aim to create new, lasting relationships, relationships that flourish because of nurture and support.  If these people have money, they will give it; but that is not the point.  When compared with new freedom and new friends in a new communion, money is the least interesting thing.

Spiritual communion also reveals itself in a new fruitfulness. Here the radical nature of fund-raising as ministry becomes clear.  In the world, those who raise funds must show potential donors a strategic plan that convinces donors their money will help to increase the productivity and success of the organisation.  In the new communion, productivity and success may also grow as a result of fund-raising, but they are only by-products of a deeper creative energy, the energy of love planted and nurtured in the lives of people in and through a relationship with Jesus.  With the right environment and patient care, these seeds can yield a great harvest, “thirty and sixty and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:20).  This is a vision of fruitfulness, so every time we approach people for money, we must be sure that we are inviting them into this vision of fruitfulness, a fruitfulness that reveals God’s generosity to all who give cheerfully and freely. We want them to join us so that together we begin to see what God means when He says, “Be fruitful” (Gen. 1:28).

Fund-raising, as Henri Nouwen says, also gives us an amazing opportunity to grow in faithfulness toward our own personal calling, our own unique vocation and ministry.  At times this may well bring us right to the heart of our struggle with our vocation, for who does not from time-to-time struggle with the vocation God has set upon our hearts?  Yet, it is through our struggle that we can give God an opportunity to help us become more fruitful. He does this by calling us to deeper commitment to our particular ministry and vocation, so fund-raising helps to make visible the Kingdom that is already among us. This is part of the fruitfulness of the community of love.

Time to think

This is your opportunity to spend time alone with God.  The more time you spend with Him the more you will get to know Him as He reveals more of who He is to your heart, soul and spirit.  This time will be personal and wholly unique to your faith journey with Him.

Read again the two passages from Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:10-15 & Matthew 14:13-21.  Let them speak to you afresh in the light of giving, stewardship and fund-raising as ministry.  As God speaks to you why not write down (in your journal, or on the spare pages in this service booklet) what you sense God is saying to you?

The benefit of writing down your thoughts helps you to check them against Scripture, and then plants them more firmly in your heart and mind than just simply thinking on things.

Can I ask you to consider these questions:

  1. What does God mean when he says “Be fruitful” (Genesis 1:28)?
  2. Read Matthew 13:44-26.  How do you respond to the actions of the man and merchant in these parables?  Is God asking you to sell something of great worth to you so you can be part of His plan to extend His Kingdom here in these communities?

Go into a quiet place and invite God to show you how He wants you to respond this question.

As you ponder on it why not write down your thoughts and share any reflections with others.

Prayer Response

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;

teach me to serve you as you deserve,

to give and not to count the cost,

to fight and not to heed the wounds,

to toil and not to seek for rest,

to labour and not to seek reward,

except that of knowing that I do your will.

Amen

 St. Ignatius Loyola

Spirituality of Fund-raising Part 4: Asking

Did you find a quiet place and seek the Lord and ask….

“What of mine is God asking me to be prepared to offer to Him for use in extending His Kingdom here?”

If you did that how did you get on? Any surprises?

Going back a couple of weeks I spoke about the Kingdom of God being our security base because the Kingdom is where God provides for all that we need. It is the supernatural heavenly realm of sufficiency, where we are no longer pulled here and there by anxiety about having enough.  And this amazing Kingdom of God is all about relationship.  So how we relate to an eternal loving God who has come down to us, is all important if we’re going to see fund-raising as ministry.  This then begs the questions: What is your relationship with money like? Are you free from it?

If we have a strong security base with God then we’re likely to trust God, and step out in faith, feeling free to share the Good News of Jesus.  The same is true when asking for money.  If our security is totally in God, then we are free to ask for money.  Only when we are free from money can we ask freely for others to give it.  This is the conversion to which fund-raising ministry calls us.  Already we have seen that many people have a hard time asking others for money because money is a taboo subject.  Why is it a taboo subject?   Because when our own insecurities are connected with it, we are not free.

Also, if we’re jealous of the rich, and envious of their money we probably don’t have a free and healthy relationship with money ourselves.  In the same vain, we are not free if we feel anger towards those who have money.  We may believe that they have made their money in a dishonest way.  So, if rich people make us jealous or angry, we reveal that money in some way or other is still our master, and so we are not ready to ask for it.  It’s not honouring to God at all if we ask for money out of anger or jealousy, especially if we suppress these feelings behind polite words.  Requests for funds under such attitudes may well not be successful.  It may well put the person in a defensive position.   As I have already said in all our asking, it’s best to see it as an opportunity to draw someone into responding to the invitation to journey with us on the road of faith.  We do this by sharing the vision God has given us.

But once we are prayerfully committed to placing our whole trust in God, and we are concerned only for the Kingdom; once we have learned to love the rich for who they are rather than what they have; and once we believe that we have something of such great value to give them, then it will be easier to ask someone for a large sum of money.  We are free to ask for whatever we need with the confidence that we will get it.  That is what the gospel says: “Ask, and it will be given to you; …knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Matt.  7:7, NIV).   In all that we are doing, whether asking for money or not, we’re to do it out of faith in God, believing we can find God, that He hears us, and responds to us.  God doesn’t leave us hanging and waiting for His high five in return!   We’re not to give up.  Instead we are to be persistent, keep asking, for if we’re asking in line with God’s plans and purposes we can trust that the Spirit of Christ, who is guiding us, is also guiding the person we’re asking.

If for some reason a person says “No,” to our request then out of our security base we will be free to respond gratefully.  Perhaps their financial resources are more urgently needed elsewhere.  Maybe they are not yet ready to make a real commitment to our vision.  Perhaps we need to listen more deeply to the Spirit so that our asking will be clearer and our vision more attractive.  If we approach potential donors in the Spirit of Christ, we can do so with an attitude, and in an atmosphere, of confident freedom.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1, NIV).  This freedom is freedom from self.  In Christ we are now free to do, with Him, what we considered impossible to do before.

Asking people for money is giving them the opportunity to put their resources at the disposal of the Kingdom.  So to raise funds is to offer people the chance to invest what they have in the work of God.  Whether they have much or little is not as important as the possibility of making their money available to God for Him to use to extend His Kingdom here.

This is what we see in the feeding of the 5000.  With only five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus was showing us how God’s love can multiply the effects of our generosity (Matt. 14:13-21).  What He was initially given seemed completely insufficient, but in His hands it became more than enough.  We often feel that our contribution to Jesus is meagre, but He can use and multiply whatever we give Him, whether it is talent, time or treasure.  The truth of this miracle is that when we give all that we have to Jesus our resources are multiplied, not for us, but for God.  God’s Kingdom is the place of abundance where every generous act overflows its original bounds and becomes part of the unbounded grace of God at work in the world (2 Cor. 9:10-15).  God has given us resources to use and invest for Him.  Paul gets us to think about seed; they are not foolishly thrown away, hidden, or devoured.  Instead seed is sown in the ground and tended until it produces its harvest, which in turn enables farmers to produce both food and also more crops.  So when we invest in God’s work, He will provide us with even more to give in His service. 

This brings spiritual rewards to us who give generously to God’s work.  It’s unlikely that we will become rich through our giving, but those who receive our gifts are helped, for in giving we are blessing others.  In return we too will be blessed by our loving, generous, and gracious Heavenly Father.

When we truly enjoy God’s unlimited generosity,

we will be grateful for what our brothers and sisters receive.

Jealousy will simply have no place in our hearts.

“Bread for the Journey” by Henri Nouwen

Time to think

This is your opportunity to spend time alone with God.  The more time you spend with Him the more you will get to know Him as He reveals more of who He is to your heart, soul and spirit. This time will be personal and wholly unique to your faith journey with Him.

Read again the two passages from Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:10-15, and Matthew 14:13-21.  Let them speak to you afresh in the light of giving, stewardship and fund-raising as ministry.  As God speaks to you, why not write down in your journal what you sense God is saying to you?

The benefit of writing down your thoughts helps you to check them against Scripture, and then plants them more firmly in your heart and mind than just simply thinking on things.

Can I ask you to consider this question:

Who is God asking you to share His vision for this place with?

Go into a quiet place and invite God to show you how He wants you to respond to this question.

As you ponder on it why not write down your thoughts and share any reflections with others.

Prayer Response

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;

teach me to serve you as you deserve,

to give and not to count the cost,

to fight and not to heed the wounds,

to toil and not to seek for rest,

to labour and not to seek reward,

except that of knowing that I do your will.

Amen.                                                             

St. Ignatius Loyola