It’s Not Always Easy
When I was in the fourth grade, I sold Girl Scout cookies. I was great at taking orders and always won the troop prize. I even got invited to the governor’s mansion for tea as a result of my efforts!
I could sell and up-sell like nobody else. “Are you sure you want just one box? These cookies are only available once a year… (smile).” Or, “Oh I love the thin mints, too! My mom loves the trefoils. She dunks them in her coffee in the morning. Do you want to try some?”
But when it came around to distributing the cookies, I had such a hard time asking people to pay for them.
Asking for payment was so awkward.
Today, it seems I have no problem asking for money. I’m not selling cookies. I’m selling a closer connection to God and what could be more important than that?
But I will be honest. It isn’t always easy to ask for money. This is something I pray about, read about, and practice.
Giving is an Act of Faith
1. I can’t ask for money if I don’t really believe in the “why” of The Ask. I do indeed believe that nothing in my bank account belongs to me. I manage a trust and the trust belongs to God. God has instructed me to worship God above everything else. From the first of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:2-3) to the words of Jesus (Matthew 22:37-38 and Mark 12:29-30), I have learned this truth. And I bear witness to these Biblical instructions when I am generous.
When I give, I feel just a little lighter. My faith deepens and my relationship with God grows a little stronger. And yet, it’s still hard for me to ask others. I go through seasons of abundance and scarcity in my own mind, and they affect my generosity and my ability to ask others. When you hear me ask others, I am in a season of abundance, and I really do believe in the “why”.
2. I never ask others to give to something that I don’t give to. If I am not contributing, then my ask is not sincere, and I think people can see right through that. When Jesus invited the disciples to follow him, he was already on the journey. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said (Matthew 4:19). When you hear me ask, I use language of invitation to join me in giving.
3. I am always sensitive to where people are in their own spiritual journey. Clif Christopher, author of one of my favorite books, Not Your Parent’s Offering Plate, says that the way people give is a type of spiritual barometer. Giving is an act of faith. For some it is a giant leap of faith across the Grand Canyon. Remember when the rich man asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life? Jesus told him to give it all away. (Matthew 9:16-22, Mark 10:17-22). We are told that this made the man sad because he had great wealth. The rich man clearly needed to do some thinking. Instead of putting someone on the spot and asking them to give, invite them to
think about it.
Will You Consider Joining Me?
Here are some examples:
Will you consider joining me?
Learn and practice Biblical Financial Stewardship through education resources provided by the Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation.