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Avoiding Charitable Banquet Syndrome

The point is this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

You go to the mailbox. The one outside your home, not on your screen, and open it slowly trying to avoid the avalanche of…

  • 42 requests for funds from 501c3 organizations, all claiming to be your favorite charity 
  • 22 invitations to attend a celebration lunch or dinner
  • 3 very nice Christmas cards from friends that you know

Christmas is the season for giving. Lots of giving! 

Charitable organizations receive 31 percent of their annual budgets in December and 12 percent of annual giving occurs in the last 12 days of the year.

How do you stay generous and not penurious when everyone asks you to give? How do you keep from gaining 10 pounds attending all those banquets? How do you avoid becoming a Grinch caused by “Not Another Banquet” syndrome?

First:

Go to the banquets of the organizations that you support regularly. Then go to one banquet of an organization that you don’t support regularly. If you ask others to attend your banquet, you should accept an invitation too.

Don’t get guilted into going to all of them. One is enough. 

Second:

Pray about a financial gift before you attend a banquet. 

Intend to give before you go. God loves a cheerful giver, and the banquet will be a blessing with your donation already inspired by intentional prayer. 

Warning:  When I pray, God usually ups the amount from my original intention.

Third:

Listen for prayer points during the banquet and pray for that organization during the year. 

Some of the best and most deserving servants in your community struggle all year doing acts of kindness that bless your city and by inference, bless you too.

Prayers benefit more from a kingdom perspective than any amount of money.

During the year, send an e-mail to the leaders of charities you support asking for specific prayer requests. It’s a lot easier and more fun to attend banquets of the ministries on your prayer lists.

The banquet becomes a testimony to you of answered prayers. Exciting!

After 49 years of ministry, I have attended hundreds of banquets and received thousands of request letters. I don’t feel guilty about saying “no” because my financial and time gifts are planned by the Spirit. 

Have the courage to say “yes” to a request but also confidently say “no.” Jesus teaches to let your yes be yes and your no, no!

Remember, giving is always blessed. I don’t want my generosity stymied by overwhelming requests. I want to avoid the Scrooge effect in my life by the “Not Another Banquet” syndrome.

One final hint for those hosting banquets and sending mail requests:

Celebrate the small amount giver, as they sacrifice more with their gift than the larger gift donor. Their prayers can be more effective too.

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