This week I sat down with a long time friend of mine. He’s well into his 80s. About 10 years ago, he made his first major gift. At the time of the gift, he called me and told me that he finally felt like he could die. He felt such relief and freedom in making the gift.
Since that time, however, his giving has slowed to a trickle. While his income has also slowed, his net worth suggests the need for more current giving. But our talks have stalled.
Mind you, I’m not a fundraiser. I’m not meeting with him to ask money for our organization. Instead, I’m simply encouraging him to give to organizations that he wants to support.
Why has his giving slowed? It really boils down to one thing: trust. But it is not trust in God that is the issue. It is trust in people.
Each time I’ve met with him, I hear the stories of his former wives, children, grandchildren, churches and ministries who have all betrayed him or let him down. The stories have been so long repeated that I can tell them myself.
Giving is like a garden. It flows out of fruit or produce. Whatever we’ve cultivated in our lives—whether rocks or plants—will yield it’s own fruit. Likewise, it is wise for us to have others look over our garden. We may be surprised by the fruit we’ll be yielding in the years to come.
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Published September 27, 2010