Young man in business clothes leaning against the wall, in a humble posture.

Ashamed to Beg

“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg” (Luke 16:3).

The shrewd manager in Jesus’s parable had mismanaged his master’s resources and was about ready to lose his job. He devised a cunning plan to offer discounts to his master’s creditors so they would owe him a favor when he was unemployed. His excuse for his scheme was simple—he wasn’t strong enough to dig ditches and he was ashamed to beg. Many nonprofit leaders can rattle off their reasons for not fundraising, “I’m too busy with other responsibilities,” “It’s not my job,” or “I’m not gifted with a fundraising personality.” Perhaps the real reason is, “I feel like fundraising is begging and I’m ashamed to beg.” Fundraising isn’t begging; it’s a higher calling. Jesus taught, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9).

Worldly Wealth
John Wesley’s simple money lesson was “Make all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” As a fundraiser you can influence believers to make good stewardship decisions. Your donors are in various stages of their Christian walk. Some understand their responsibility to wisely manage God’s resources. Unfortunately, others struggle with “the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things” (Mark 4:19). Having money is not a sin, using it selfishly is.

Gain Friends
What does it mean to “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourself” (Luke 16:9)? Whom are these friends? Jesus explained in Matthew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” You must introduce the least of these brothers and sisters to your donors.

Eternal Dwellings
What joy to hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:21). Imagine all the people in heaven who will thank your donors because of their generosity—those who were given something to eat and drink, had shelter and clothes, were cared for when they were sick, and were encouraged when they were in prison. You can help your donors experience this future blessing by asking them to participate in your mission now.

Love Money
“You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13). God knows every heart; what he values and what we value can be two different things (Luke 16:15). Asking for a gift prompts your ministry partners to assess their priorities. Are they serving God or money? If they don’t give, it might be because it’s not the right project, the right amount, the right timing, or perhaps the Spirit is directing their gift to another ministry.

Think About This: Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). We should not be ashamed to ask our ministry partners to help advance the Gospel through their generous gifts.

Response: Father, help me challenge our donors to value what you value.

Ron Haas has served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored three books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising, Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving and Keep on Asking – Bold, Spirit-Led Fundraising. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

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