Years ago, one of my mentors shared a powerful concept that resonates with me to this day. He said, “the glory of God is our highest priority and prayer is our first work.” Of course! Everyone who’s been transformed by Christ will eventually discover that God owns it all, and we are simply managers or stewards. God expects us to plan and use our resources wisely because we are accountable to Him.
The world economy is always in a state of flux and volatility, and we are constantly experiencing global-sized disasters. Ebola is ravaging West Africa. ISIS is terrorizing believers in the Middle East. If we look to the world we can easily cultivate a spirit of fear, which can morph into a lack of trust in the God who is!
In the midst of all the challenges and expectations on chief development officers in this day and age, how can we cultivate faithfulness in fundraising? Simple. Before you do anything, pray.
During my time at one organization, the team I managed needed to capitalize on an initiative, but the economics were overwhelming. Knowing that “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills,” our team spent extensive time in prayer and planning. We prayed over the content of an Opportunity Profile and about who God might lead to fund this particular project, ending up with a short list of people to contact.
A few months later, I met with an individual and her financial advisor. In my prayer time, God had revealed to me that this person had the capacity to give above and beyond the need, which was over $1 million. I told her I didn’t know in what way God would motivate her, but that this was an incredible Kingdom opportunity.
She jumped up and went into her bedroom, coming back with her Bible open to Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB): “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Sharing that God gave her this verse some weeks ago, she said, “I’ve been praying ‘Lord, what do you want me to do?’ Jim, I believe this might be what he wants me to do. Let me pray and see how the Lord answers and get back to you in a few days.”
The following week, the financial advisor contacted me and said his client had decided to give some shares of stock in support of our efforts. I asked him the value of the stock and he said, “At the current market value—$1.1 million.” This meet our need and then some! I was stunned at God’s faithfulness.
A side note to this story: this individual also had a $1 million charitable remainder trust that we were administering, with the remaining interest ($1 million) to come to the organization at death. During our meeting, I suggested that she could revoke her life income interest in that trust and use the $1 million as a gift to fund our vision. However, God had a different plan. She not only kept the $1 million term trust intact, but she also gave in an extraordinary way to meet our current need!
Proverbs 16:9 (NASB) says, “The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” The Lord knew all along where to find the resources for this initiative. The connection with this individual occurred through prayer and by the Lord revealing which direction we should take.
When the vision comes from the Lord, He also establishes the resources needed to accomplish the vision. In Exodus 35, the project is the tabernacle. Over and over through that passage we read things like “Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart let him bring it as the Lord’s contribution: gold silver and bronze etc. vs 5-9.
We then read “Let every skillful man among you come…” Vs 10. And what we see through the rest of the passage is nothing short of miraculous. Verse 21, “Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution for the work of the tent of meeting for all its service and for the holy garments.” vs 22 “Then all whose hearts moved them both men and women came and brought…” NASB
God is the provider of all of our resources and over the years I’ve seen God’s economy run counter to the world’s economy. I’ve had people tell me “you can’t out give God” and hand me a six figure check. God be praised for motivating people who are not only endowed by Him with what they have but are willing to give to further the work of the Gospel.
Jim Loscheider is the vice president of Donor Ministries for Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.
It is a gift to give to others what God has freely given to you. If you are ready to give back, Christian Leadership Alliance encourages you to join the community of Christian mentors already on board at the Outcomes Mentoring Network. Do your part to invest in the next generation of Kingdom builders. Learn more today.