Friday, July 20, 2012

"Would You Please Give. . ."

Over the years I have received many requests from people, both teens and adults, requesting financial help for mission trips, camp ministries, and various other service events.  I try to help when possible, but much depends on previous contacts with the person.  I am far more likely to give to someone who has been a hardworking student, or an adult with a known faithful life, than the person who has been a "slackard" or the person who is known to be a taker rather than a giver.

Some requests over the years have been eloquent; some not.  The worst one I ever got was a photocopied request with a blank for filling in the recipient's name; my name was written in, the letter was signed, and the envelope was addressed, by the young man's mother.  (He didn't get any financial help from me.)

I realize that many people, including teenagers, have a genuine desire for service in whatever ministry they are investing their time in.  I also realize that their requests often come from the heart.  But asking for money is something that must be done very cautiously.

This week we received a letter that I think is a wonderful way to make such a contribution request:

"I realize that I am writing to people who already give to the Lord in the forms of tithes and offerings. . .For these reasons I want to emphasize that I do not write to you out of any expectation whatsoever.  We appreciate what you are already doing for the Lord's kingdom.  All that I request is that you take some time to genuinely ask the Lord two straightforward questions:  1) Would You have me support this project?  And if so, 2) What would you have me to give?  I trust you would then obey the Lord's leading or even lack of leading.  I only desire you be able to give cheerfully if the Lord so desires.  Philippians 2:13 says: 'For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.'  If it is His will that you support me financially in this mission, I trust He will make it clear by working in your will so that you actually want to help."

I really appreciated the tone of this letter.  It is a request stated much more eloquently than most, and it lets the recipient make a decision about being a partner in ministry, as led by the Holy Spirit, rather than appear to be a tightwad if he/she decides not to give.


rk2 said...

You are so right on this and I totally agree with you. Not being in education I don't get as many letters, but I too found it interesting how many (former) students who never spoke a word to me except to answer a question if I called on them would ask for money for a trip. I even had a former student who was in college send a letter asking for money for his summer class in England because he no doubt would have some opportunities to share his faith during the time he was there.

Thought you may appreciate this link:

One of my favorites in it "The pretend you don't care about money line".

Ann said...

Thanks for both the comment and the link!!