Thursday, October 18, 2012

Different than NPR

Right now my local NPR station is doing their annual Fall pledge drive (aka fundraiser). There are quite a few things that are different between how NPR does fundraising and how I do it, but one thing in particular really stood out to me this time around:

To raise funds, NPR has to demonstrate that they are really worth giving to.

If that were the case in my fundraising, it would be utterly hopeless.

That's not to say that I'm not tempted to view it that way. I'm always eager to tell my donors all the good stuff that happens. I love telling them about people accepting Jesus, whether directly or indirectly as a result of my particular role in their lives. I delight in telling stories of God increasing the size of our ministry. I passionately tell folks about what I'm learning in the Word or teaching others in the Word.

I'm less eager to tell my donors about the seemingly bad stuff that happens. I often avoid telling them about the people who walk away from Jesus, whether directly or indirectly as a result of my particular role in their lives. I fail to tell stories of God shrinking the size of our ministry. I desperately hope no one asks me what I'm learning in the Word during seasons when God feels distant or what I'm teaching in the Word when my latest talks have been pathetic. (Note: I'm not saying that it's a good thing to not share these things. I'm just saying that it's how my heart works.)

Truth be told, I think my ministry tends to look more like that last paragraph than the one before it most of the time. Or perhaps it's just because those times tend to weigh on me a lot more.

In any case, like I said, if my job as a fundraiser were to convince people that I'm worth giving to, it would be utterly hopeless.

Thankfully, that's not my job!

I don't have to be particularly impressive. I don't have to woo donors with my charm or charisma. I just need to give myself to Jesus, I need to tell prospective donors that I'm giving myself to Jesus, and then I need to ask them to give themselves to Jesus too. That way they're not giving because of me. I'm not worth giving anything to. But He is. And because He is, so am I.

NPR can't say that. (Or at least they can't without a significant change in their worldview!) But I can. And you can. And we should.

So next time you're tempted to think of yourself as more or less than you are, stop thinking about yourself altogether. Jesus has already demonstrated that He is worth giving to. So go.

Go in Jesus' Name.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ESV)