God Delights in Humble Requests
We all do it, right?
For missions trips. For our kids to go to camp. For the renovations for the church or school.
Fundraising is a good thing.
It brings communities together, as they work side by side on projects. It prompts us to consider what good causes we can give our (His) money too.
Some people are against fundraising, because they say that people should just give if they are able. But how would anyone know if there is a need if nobody asks? There is even biblical precedent for it when James writes, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” Asking is a beautiful thing. It keeps us humble before God and our neighbour. “Please help me,” is the attitude the Lord delights to see in his children.
Whether it is humbling yourself before the throne of grace and asking for your daily bread, or swallowing your pride and going to the deacons to help with your finances, or going to a brother to get help overcoming alcohol or pornography, or going to your church community to help raise funds for some worthy cause; the Lord delights in humble requests.
Then there are the times that fundraising becomes manipulation, whether it is intentional or not. Those times where the line is crossed from asking, to manipulating by using “should” statements, or guilt/fear tactics in order to get you to give.
We can do it on a personal level: “I lost my job, you are my brothers, if each of you gives me X amount I can make my mortgage, if not i will be homeless or have to live in your home…” or “You have a successful company, I am your brother and you should help out your brothers, you should give me a job…”
We can do it on a community level: “We need X amount of dollars for our church project, there are 100 people in our church, you should each give us Y amount, and then we’ll make it…”
Perhaps we should define Manipulation. The Oxford dictionary defines it as controlling someone or something to your own advantage, often unfairly or dishonestly.
Let’s be honest and call a duck a duck…Manipulation is abuse.
If manipulation occurs in a marriage it is spousal abuse.
If manipulation occurs in the church it is spiritual abuse.
If manipulation occurs in a fundraiser…well I don’t know what that is called.
Perhaps you have been blessed by coming into some extra money, and some relatives found out, and start manipulating you to give to their little Johnny to go on a missions trip. “Everyone else is giving, imagine if Johnny missed out on the trip by just X amount?” It might be a worthy cause, but please do not give under coercion, or out of guilt, or because other people are doing it. Rather, as the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says in 2 Corinthians, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
So prayerfully consider the needs of your family, your church, the poor, the orphan and the widow, the local Christian school, and other good causes, then if you are able give everything you have, or half, or two copper pieces…give it. But do not give because you feel manipulated, or guilty because others are doing it. Give to the glory of God.
If you are going to have a fundraiser, please be careful. Be careful to avoid manipulative tactics. Avoid tugging on the heartstrings of the poor and using guilt or fear to obtain a donation from those who are not really in a position to give. Rather, ask humbly. For God smiles upon humble requests.
And if you are approached to give – have grace. Many times those who fund-raise are not intentionally manipulating you. Perhaps you are feeling manipulated because of something that has occurred in your past. Perhaps your perception of the request is skewed. So ask – humbly! For God smiles upon humble requests. It goes both ways, see? Ask for clarification. And have grace for them. If the cause is something worth giving to, prayerfully consider giving to it.