If God has called you to give either large amounts or smaller very real sacrifices then you may like to think about this advice from our forty-five years of experience, and possibly save yourself from a lot of disappointment. DCI is a not a fund-raising organization, rather we are a gathering point for a small circle of friends who are also givers and who are committed to the benefit of the lost, the last and the least of the world. Our home page is here.
1. Watch out for sob-stories and spiritual arm-twisting
Listen to what Paul has to say from 2 Corinthians 8 in The Message version of the Bible:
“I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting.”
Take time to think and to pray. The money you have was never yours, is not yours now and never will be. It is entrusted into your care and you can be sure that the original Giver has a mind and a will for where it is to be sent in His name. Ask and you will receive wisdom, and with patience light will come, but always delete all those sob stories and arm-twisting appeals from both famous names and unknown writers, that churn your emotions, leave your spirit joyless, your bank account empty and your inbox and postbox full of repeated appeals.
2. Watch out for the signposts that point you in a good direction.
How is the person approaching you ? Is he treating you as a brother or as a banker, or worse as his personal ATM machine in the wall. Will he honour you with a two-way friendship ?
Is the person likely to be a good communicator because you will want to know lots of things now and later on.
Can he or she provide evidence and references that prove his or her integrity ?
Is there a track record that says beyond compassion this man or woman also has competence? Is there some chemistry between you? The fact is that a lot of people have a good heart but their hands do not know what to do and putting money into those hands will be a mistake.
It is very easy to lose someone else’s money, so don’t let it be yours.
3. Watch out for greed disguised by spiritual words.
We are continually surprised and disappointed that so few people ask us for help to reach the lost, the last and the least of the world but there is no shortage of people asking us to buy cars, phones, computers and buildings for them.
Greed is quite capable of deceiving even the person who is asking you for help. Greed can disguise and justify itself with all kinds of noble words but underneath it is plain greed to have the same or more that others already have. Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” That’s Luke 12:14-16.
4. Watch out for the ten lepers syndrome.
If you remember the story this is where Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one came back to say thank you. If you suspect that this might happen to you, and it may well do so as a lot of people in the world have never been taught to say thank you, then decide now how much this matters to you. The Lord may want you to give unconditionally and not need a word of thanks because as Proverbs 19.17 says, in giving to the poor, you have given to the Lord and he will repay, but it’s nice to have a word of thanks.
5. Watch out for bumble bees and butterflies.
Butterflies can be very beautiful to see and bees produce some lovely honey, so no complaints, but be aware that their nature is to move from one flower to another to gather the pollen they need. They may come back to the same flower many times but when they feel that there is no pollen left to collect you will never see them again.
We have always made it our number one guiding principle that sponsorship only ever follows relationship. However, the other side of the coin is that for many people and their projects, they only spend time in relationship with you whilst the sponsorship flows.
You will need to be sure that you can cope with the disappointment should your good friend in Africa or India who used to write to you every week, now only remembers you at Christmas time, if he remembers you at all. Of course you may well have blessed a lot of people when you worked together, and that blessing will go on into the future which is really all that matters.
6. Watch out for receiving far more than you ever gave.
You know this already. You give a token amount to a general appeal and in return you receive an endless supply of expensive colour magazines, letters signed by computers that are praying for you by name and rivers of e-mails all asking for more money. Just don’t start the ball rolling by getting onto a fund-raising database. There is whole industry out there dedicated to fund-raising and it is more than likely that most if not all of your initial gift will go towards funding the fund-raisers and printing the magazines.
7. Above all watch out for . . .
The many honourable men and women and the noble, compassionate projects that have been inspired to their hearts and minds. You will find that it is both a privilege and a pleasure to serve them and together advance the love of God in the world.
In conclusion . . .
So watch out for the traps and know for sure that giving to God and His call to bless the lost, the last and the least of the world is the trigger that releases an explosion of God-given prosperity both in you and in your beneficiaries.
God’s promise to you is that, “He is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
In the context of being a generous giver, God who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, also promises to “supply and increase your store of seed and enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
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