Burro Borrowing for Jesus

“Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” (Matthew 21:2-3)

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday starts with a curious story. He asked two disciples to go find a donkey and her colt so he could fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. This unusual passage teaches some important fundraising principles. Fundraising isn’t taking something from your donors they don’t want to give, rather it’s helping your ministry partners catch the vision for how they can help fulfill God’s mission.

This passage reminds us Jesus knows whom among your constituency has the resources to help. More importantly he knows their heart and willingness to give. We sing the lyrics from Psalm 50:10-12, “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine.” God can lead you to the cattle rancher or mine owner who can sell some cattle or gold to meet your needs. He can also soften their hearts and make them ready to give (see Exod. 3:21).

Jesus didn’t retrieve the donkey himself. He sent two disciples on this important mission. Did they understand the prophesy of Zechariah 9:9? John 12:16 says they didn’t. Jesus just gave them an assignment and they obeyed. In the same way you are called to go share your ministry story with potential donors and ask for their help. Do you fully understand how God works in hearts and prompts people to give? Probably not. You are just called to go and ask.

Jesus equipped his disciples with what to say and how to say it. The big difference in your situation is you ask first, and then receive. The disciples received first, then responded to a donor question with a great answer, “The Lord needs them.” Isn’t that the underlying reason why you solicit donors? Notice the wonderful phrase, “and he (the owner) will send them right away” (vs. 3). When people understand the spiritual impact of their gift, they are eager to be generous.

Mark 11:3 adds an important detail, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.” The Lord returns to us every gift we give to him. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). As someone who asks others for gifts, this truth should give you great confidence. God will repay your donors abundantly for every generous gift they give your ministry. You can’t outgive God.
Think About This: We are all looking for the highest return on our investments, but the greatest return comes on the eternal investments we loan to the Lord. As a fundraiser, you are an eternal loan officer helping your donors secure treasures in heaven!
Response: Father, forgive me for the times I am reluctant to ask people for the resources you’ve entrusted to them.

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  Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

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