Nobody Likes a Grumpy Giver
Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. – Deuteronomy 15:10 (NRSV)
Your pastor probably doesn’t think they’re so good at raising money.
Your pastor probably is expected to raise a whole lot of money.
Your pastor is likely to be terrified of raising money.
“Inspiring generosity” and “unleashing giving potential” sound lovely. And they are. Our spirits leap when we are generous and pastors love a leaping spirit, I think. Well, I do, anyway.
Leaping spirit gifts are a joy.
The tough ones are the gifts that land with a thud.
Picture the gift with a rope attached to it. Bam! The gift is given but can always be tugged away. If pastor preaches on that forbidden topic. If the musician doesn’t play Ol’ Rugged Cross every month. Or if the pastor doesn’t preach on that required topic or if the musician plays the Ole’ Rugged Cross one more time…
A checklist of requirements that accompanies giving becomes a cord around the heart, making it hard for a spirit to leap as we tether our giving to our expectations.
But gifts to the church are not for the pastor. They are for God.
My recommendation? Align with a community and then make your peace with it. Gifts aren’t made to decisions, they are made to the place you have decided God is at work.
This brings cheer. If your gift makes you grumpy – are you in the right place?
May my spirit leap as I think about your generosity, O God. May my gifts do the same. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.