In our church fellowship hall are about a dozen artificial birch trees. They have been there for as long as anyone can remember and have definitely seen better years. They can’t be removed or replaced because they were donated by a church member who would be offended. Every church has one of these. The piano donated by Sister Johnson or the clock built by Brother Parker. I don’t doubt the sincerity and love in which the items are donated, but I ask “Why give if your gift holds the church back or steers it in a different direction”?
This past week the news broke about a booster for the University of Miami Hurricane’s who provided millions of dollars in benefits student athletes. The details are long and include everything parties and $50,000 lump sum payments. The booster is now in prison for stealing $930,000,000 in a ponzi scheme and when asked why he decided to come forward now he said “I asked for help from the players I gave things to and they wouldn’t do anything for me.”
Essentially the booster, Nevin Shapiro, is upset because he thought he bought all the friends he needed. It was never about how much he believed in the University of Miami. It wasn’t about contributing to changing student athletes lives.
As I thought about this I started to ask myself, why do I give? What is the reason I donate to a cause or ministry? Do I want something in return? Over the years I’ve come to identify five types of church givers:
1. The “I believe in this ministry and wish to see it continue” giver.
2. The “I don’t have time to contribute and money is the best alternative” giver.
3. The “I need the charitable deduction for my taxes” giver.
4. The “I want to have more input in church business” giver.
5. The “Donating means I’m a good person and helps me get into heaven” giver.
What do you care most about, the church or your opinion? Do you feel that your donation is your ticket into heaven? Is it your way of impacting ministry? Aren’t the lives that the donation changes and affects good enough?