Remember the story in Mark, Chapter 10, beginning in Verse 17? It’s the story of the rich young ruler. It goes like this:
And when he (Jesus) was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, ‘Good teacher, what small I do that I may inherit eternal life?’
And Jesus said unto him, ‘Why call me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.
You know the commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor your father and your mother.
And he answered and said unto him, ‘Teacher, all these have I observed from my youth.
Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, ‘One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatsoever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross and follow me.’
As a development professional, do you know what’s most interesting to me about this story? It’s how differently Christ sees the rich man, from the way that development professionals would likely see him.
Usually, we don’t see a lack when we look at a wealthy person who desires to live a righteous life – we see an opportunity, instead. Can you imagine the response of a development-professional Christ to the young ruler?
Well, if you want to be perfect, I have put together a great brochure with some of our key ministries that could really use your support, and here are some fantastic testimonials from folks I’ve healed. Here’s a testimony from a Gadarene man, we took care of a livestock problem he was having and now he sings our praises night and day. This woman here was on her fifth husband before she enrolled in our Living Water Marriage Refresher course, and you can sponsor more fifth wives like her for just 800 denarii apiece…hey, where are you going?
But Jesus didn’t focus on what the young ruler could do for his ministry. Instead, he perceived that the young ruler had a lack – while righteous, he had lived primarily focused on himself, and he was feeling an aching void. It wasn’t that the poor needed the young ruler’s money – it was that the young ruler needed to give his money away.
And that’s the seed of Transformational Giving, which will begin to sprout in our next post.