Asking Big: Does it Offend or Affirm?

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By on March 1, 2006   /   Leave a comment

There I was, mesmerized by the passion and vision of this campus staff worker who was pouring out his heart to reach the world for Christ and asking me to join his support team. But when the moment of truth arrived and he shared how much he was asking me to invest, I could not believe it. He only asked me for $35 a month! I was stunned and embarrassed for him. Was that all his vision was worth? Was that all that he thought I could (or would) give? Guess how much I agreed to contribute? Yep, just $35 a month. We think we offend people by asking too high, but with most people, we offend them by asking too low!!!

About a year later, I was approached by two different men who presented their ministry to me—with a fair degree of vision and passion. When the time came to ask me to join their team, they each asked me for $200 a month! Guess how much I agreed to each of their teams? Yep, $35 a month again. I guess I’m stuck on that figure, but I will never forget the courage they displayed and the dignity they showed me (and themselves!) that day. Instead of being offended, I was honored because they not only believed I was generous enough to give that much, but that I also had the ability to. They thought I was willing AND able! I would have liked to meet their expectation. And if they do a good job connecting with me over the years, I might just gradually increase to that figure someday.

After a long and brutal battle, the great French general, Napoleon, had finally conquered a highly prized Mediterranean island. He and his generals were sitting and drinking, savoring the victory, when a young officer came up and approached Napoleon. When the general asked the man what he wanted, he looked straight at Napoleon and said, “Give me this island!” All the generals began to laugh and mock the young man, until that is, Napoleon asked one of them for a pen and paper. To their utter amazement, he wrote out a deed to the island, signed it, and handed it to the bold, but lowly soldier. “How could you do that?” one of his generals asked, “What made him worthy to receive this great island?”

“I gave him this island,” Napoleon replied, “because he honored me by the magnitude of his request.”

  Are some of your staff afraid of asking for too much? You can always come down into a more comfortable range for the donor. But how much are you and your ministry worth? $35 a month? $100, $200, $300 or more a month? Ask big. You won’t offend them; you’ll affirm them! My former pastor, Dr. H.D. McCarty says, “When I get to heaven, I don’t want to be guilty of asking God—or others—for too little.” Me neither.

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