As far as fundraising goes, Prison Fellowship International is new to this activity—and it is hard to start from ground zero. We’re increasing our efforts to this end, which means approaching various major donors and foundations that haven’t donated to our ministry before.
Recently, we applied to two foundations, requesting the same amount from both. Within two months of submitting the proposals, we received a gift from each—but only half of what we asked.
When I received the notice, I started to feel rather resentful, and this caused me to recognise a critical moment of choice in a leader’s attitude. My initial response reminded me of when my son, Jordan, experienced a similar situation.
Jordan was about 10 years old, and to celebrate his birthday, friends and relatives gave him a slew of gifts.
A few of these gifts were video games, and. one was a game he already had. Jordan took that game to the store to exchange it. With birthday gift money burning a hole in his pocket, Jordan became indignant and not only wanted to exchange the game, but wanted to buy two more. He lacked a grateful heart for what he already received. He hadn’t even opened the other new games yet! He hadn’t tried to play them, yet he wanted to buy new ones. I used this moment to have a serious talk with my son about his attitude of gratefulness. Needless to say, he left the store with zero games that day.
My Heavenly Father has taught me so much as I have raised my children—He looks at us with the same love to instruct and discipline when needed. In fundraising, I believe it’s a biblical principle that God will withdraw His blessing from us if we do not have the right attitude of gratefulness for what has been given us—no matter what the amount.
When I received those two generous gifts from the foundations, I should have thanked the Lord and started planning the great work we could accomplish with these new funds. Instead, I saw in my mirror the face of my own son standing in that video game store all those years ago.
As ministry leaders in Prison Fellowship I know you are involved in various forms of fund raising. The most important piece of advice I want to pass on regarding your fund raising activity is that a lack of gratefulness will steal your future blessings. It may not be the message you were expecting about this very technical subject, but it’s the one I
feel every leader needs to hear.
As it says in Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV), “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
What are you grateful for today?