31 Jul Bivocational Fundraising
“This Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him” (Ezra 7:6).
Ezra wasn’t trained as a fundraiser. He had devoted himself to studying, keeping, and teaching God’s word. Teaching was his first love, and he was good at it, but the Lord assigned him another job. God led the Israelites back from Babylon in three waves: (1) Zerubbabel traveled to Jerusalem in 528 BC to rebuild the temple, (2) Ezra returned 80 years later to rebuild the people by teaching the Law of God, and (3) Nehemiah came 14 years after that to rebuild the wall.
Ezra had spent his life studying the Scriptures. As a boy, he studied how God had rescued his people from Egypt. On the night of Passover, Moses instructed the people to ask the Egyptians for silver and gold; the Lord made the Egyptians “favorable disposed” to give them everything they asked (see Exodus 12:35-36). Your job as a fundraiser is simply to ask. God is responsible to prompt people to give.
Ezra didn’t just study the Scriptures, he obeyed them. Ezra’s assignment was to ask King Artaxerxes for silver and gold to buy offerings to sacrifice (Ezra 7:15-17), so he courageously stood before the king, his advisors, and all the king’s powerful officials (Ezra 7:28). Think about how intimidating it would have been to share God’s message with the most powerful man in the world! Perhaps he was encouraged by the Israelite’s story. The result was the same–the king gave him everything he asked.
Ezra’s message was so compelling and so effective that King Artaxerxes insisted Ezra immediately return to Jerusalem to teach the Law of God to everyone throughout the Trans-Euphrates. “Whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, let it be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should his wrath fall on the realm of the king and of his sons?” (Ezra 7:23). Your message must be compelling to motivate your ministry partners to act.
Ezra asked the king, his advisors, and officials, and they responded with “650 talents (24 tons) of silver, silver articles weighing 100 talents (3.75 tons), 100 talents of gold (3.75 tons), 20 bowls of gold valued at 1,000 darics (19 lbs.) and two fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold” (Ezra 8:26-27). In today’s value, Ezra asked and received approximately $20 million in silver and $214 million in gold! Not bad for a seminary grad! How could God use you as a bivocational fundraiser?
Response: Father, forgive me for using the excuse, “fundraising is not my job.” Give me courage to fulfill my role to ask our ministry partners for their generous support.
Think About This: Ezra wasn’t a successful fundraiser because of his personality, experience, or even his skill. He succeeded because “the hand of the Lord his God was upon him” (Ezra 7:6).
Have a Spirit-led fundraising week!
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 two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. 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.