The Folly of “Hint-Hint” Support Raising

By on September 1, 2010   /   Leave a comment

A Christian worker carefully crafts an email or newsletter that hints at what they need. They might choose their wording such  that it sends a subliminal message to their readers. Some brazen missionaries don’t beat around the bush and come across as outright beggars! And, of course, the innocent victims of these appeals are hard-working income earners who are supposed to have pity on these underpaid and underprovided Christian workers. Their sympathy and guilt causes them to reach into their pocket and make a charitable donation.

See if you can match the bold/underlined words above with their proper definition below:
A.____________:A hidden or concealed message seeking to subconsciously influence another.
B.____________:To feel sorry for someone because they are in a bad situation.
C.____________:Intended to help people who are poor or sick, or who need advice and support.
D.____________:Something you say to show what you are thinking or feeling, without saying it directly.
E.____________:Those who ask others for money or food, usually because they are very poor.
*Answers below

[Now, see if you can spot any of these five concepts in the real-life email my wife and I received today.]

Dear Steve and Carol,

Friday afternoon the radiator split in our 2000 car (now pushing 180,000 miles). I told my wife to try to drive it three miles to our mechanic. The car stopped en route and had to be towed. Please pray the mechanic will find that the engine was stopped by the internal computer rather than because we ruined the engine.

Just that morning, we had picked up the car from this mechanic after $500+ of brake work and a pressure test, which had enabled them to identify and tighten a loose hose clamp that was leaking coolant. The car had overheated earlier this month, and we almost faced repairs as we drove back from a neighboring state. So, one evidence of God’s grace was that the final failure came just three miles from our mechanic.

With the high miles on our car, we have already been praying for God’s timing, guidance, and provision regarding our next family vehicle. Would you join us in this prayer? To date, God has graciously honored our commitment not to go into debt for such purchases, but presently we have only half of what we would likely need in savings to purchase something. Regardless of whether or not the car needs immediate replacement, we are thus actively welcoming gifts toward our “Car Replacement Fund,” as well as prayers and suggestions regarding a donated vehicle or discounted sources to purchase a replacement. Thanks!

Note: We omitted the identity of the person and town (even the kind of vehicle!) from this note in order to avoid exposing or embarrassing this good-hearted, well-meaning Christian worker.

I’m sure this person believes they are just being open, honest, and vulnerable with us (and the other 500? or so folks getting this “personalized” email) by sharing their misfortunes and needs. They shoot themselves in the foot, though, because the only ones who normally respond to a communiqué like this are the handful of soft-hearted mercy givers, looking to give a handout here or there to the “down and outers.” But, the believers who are praying and looking for some visionary person/cause to significantly invest in and to become “Ministry Partners” with will instantly be turned-off by this feeble and humiliating approach. Rather, they’re yearning to connect with a Christian worker who lifts his/her eyes above his/her so-called personal “needs” to focus on and communicate a much greater, more eternal “need:” the evangelization of the world in this generation!

In Summary: In ALL your communication, highlight the vision, not your needs.

Answers to definitions above: A. Subliminal, B. Pity, C. Charitable, D. Hint, E. Beggar


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