Great Needs, but Few Leads

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.” (2 Kings 4:3)

Many ministries face great financial needs, but have few donor leads. Whom can you turn to find the resources you need? A widow approached Elisha with a great need. Her husband, who was enrolled in the school of prophets, passed away leaving her with a sizable debt. It was so insurmountable her creditors threatened to take her two sons as slaves. Grief-stricken, she cried out to Elisha for help. His answer can help you solve your desperate need.

Assess Your Situation
Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil” (vs. 2). Many times, we view ourselves as having absolutely nothing to work with. Look closely at your database. Namestorm with your board members. Can you identify anyone who could give $100,000 to your ministry? How about $50,000… $25,000… $10,000… $5,000? Work down your list until you find a lead. Everyone knows someone who could give $1,000.

Ask Your Friends
Elisha helped her realize she had more resources beyond what she had in her house—she had a network of neighbors and friends. You have relationships with those you serve and those who love those your serve. Our minds always jump to millionaires and billionaires we’ve never met and will probably never meet. Instead, focus your efforts on those in your immediate circle.

Ask for a Gift they can Give
Elisha gave her curious instructions. “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few” (vs. 3). Can you imagine the scene? “Mary, could I borrow as many empty jars as you can spare?” She gathered jars of all sizes. Sometimes, we look for one mega donor who can give a mega gift to solve all our problems. It’s easy for a donor to say no to a large request. Ask them for a gift they can say yes to!

Exercise faith
The woman filled her house with empty jars, went inside, and shut the door. Then she and her sons witnessed God’s miracle of provision. One by one she filled each jar from her little jar of oil. When the last jar was filled, the oil stopped. She must have wished she had asked a few more neighbors for a few more jars. Don’t stop reaching out. Don’t stop telling your ministry story. Don’t stop asking for gifts no matter how small. The minute you stop asking, the gifts stop coming.

Think About This: A master bonsai gardener took an overgrown, partially dead juniper tree and transformed it into a work of art. He commented about his finished product, “You have to use what you’ve got to get what you want.” Use what you have and let God transform it into something beautiful for his glory.

Response: Father, I feel like this desperate widow. Open my eyes to relationships I have and give me the courage to ask for help. Give me faith to trust you for your provision.

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 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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