On Being Held Up

Gordon Venturella

Maybe youve heard the story - or one like it.

A bandit lays a $20 bill on a convenience store check out counter and asks for change. When the clerk opens the drawer the crook produces a gun and asks for the contents which hes dutifully given prompting him to run away with the loot leaving his twenty on the counter. Once outside the thief counts his plunder. The take? Fifteen dollars.

All of which prompts the question, if you point a gun at someone and give them money has a crime been committed? Ill leave that question to great legal minds.

The story causes me to think about a common perception when it comes to fundraising: Im being held up. Usually thats meant figuratively.

Many view fundraising as a professional beggar trying to manipulate or induce guilt in order to extract funds that otherwise would not be given.

In some cases that may be true.

It doesnt have to be that way.

The biblical view of financial stewardship is that all we have is a gift. Its been freely given to us to manage to invest to produce the best possible return.

The wise management of our financial resources involves giving putting money in circulation for eternal causes in to projects that are bigger than us and will last longer than us. Thats the ultimate return on investment.

Seen from this perspective Im not called to donate to charities Im called to invest in worthy causes that will have impact in eternity.

The late Henri Nouwen calls fundraising a ministry a spiritual activity. He describes the ministry of fundraising this way: Those who need money and those who can give money meet on the common ground of Gods love.

Seeing life as a trust changes important questions. The question is not so much how much did I give? The better questions is what did I keep for myself that otherwise could have been invested for a greater return?

Thoughts to ponder - the next time youre being held up