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.
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.
St. Ignatius Loyola