Like many reading this post, I am often asked to give away my money. From Local hospitals to institutions from which I have graduated, from opera and ballet companies to local theatre and musical endeavours, from special interest groups (War Amps, The Red Cross, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting) to the group which I somewhat cheekily call ’the disease sector’ (heart and stroke, diabetes, etc.), lots of folk want me to consider giving them a gift. Like many others, I get a little tired of telephone calls at inappropriate times, at a volume of mail which is astounding, and at the persistence of those whose business it is to convince me to give them some of my hard earned cash!! And yet, I still feel it is an enormous privilege to be asked!
Imagine, given what billions of my fellow humans live without, that I should have so much that others actually ask me to give it away! Imagine being so blessed by skill, reason, good fortune, and the accidents of geography and economics, that I can supply all of my basic needs and many of my wants and still have some left over to give away. Imagine having all that I have – multiple sets of clothing; three (at least!) meals a day; creature comforts too numerous to mention; the freedom to work worship, and play as I wish; a beautiful and abundantly blessed country to call home; and still to have enough to give away freely to others.
Like many of you, I am deeply impressed by the care and attention which those who ask for my money take in doing so – they call me by name, they write me frequently, they almost always thank me for what I can give, and they promise me that they will ask me again!! Many times, I cannot give what I am asked to give, or I cannot give at that particular time to that particular cause. Almost without exception, I am warmly thanked for even considering a gift, for listening, for…..answering the phone!
So, as I contemplate all that is involved with talking about giving to the Church, I am aware of several things: First, that with a national per contributor support level (using the latest sets of figures available) of between 1% and 2% of household income being given by Anglicans to Anglicans, we have a long way to go. Second, that if my church were as committed to the business of asking well (we are getting better!), then we would be in a very difference place. Third, just as I feel deeply privileged just to be asked to give to so many of those other causes, even when I cannot give, so it is an equally (and possibly even deeper) privilege to be asked to give to my church. Fourth, if talking openly and honestly about my money can happen in such significant and grace-filled ways (cause it often is both significant and grace-filled) with people whom I have probably never met and never will meet, why is it so hard for us to talk about money with our fellow church goers?
The church is every bit as deserving (I would say a whole lot more) than all those other groups who call on me for my money. It is a real privilege to be asked. It is a real privilege to give!
How lucky we are to be asked!