If we look at three biblical stories about Christians sharing money (Acts 4:34-37, Acts 11:27-31, 2 Corinthians 9:1-7), we can ask four questions: Who is giving the money? Who is receiving the money? How is the money being used? Who else is involved?
What we find is impressive. Take, for instance, Acts 11:27-31. Here’s what happens:
After learning about a famine, the disciples in Antioch decide to send relief to Christians in Judea, with whom they had a connection. They coordinate their collection and give the relief to Barnabas and Saul who take it to the elders in Judea, presumably traveling with some assistants. Once received, the elders must have developed some system to distribute it to those in need.
In other words, this donation of famine relief depended on a network of actors. It was not enough that the disciples wanted to help their neighbors and support ministry. It required relationships, organization, and skilled administrators.
Organization and relationships
Today, we have more sophisticated ways of sending money and food, but it still takes organization and relationships. Just think of the last time you wanted to give money to a cause. How did you know where to send it and how much to send? Why did you trust that the person who opened your donation would spend it as you intended?
In the church, we are accustomed to turning over our money to support ministry. When it goes well, when lives are changed because of our gifts, it’s because people manage that money well. It’s because relationships have been built and maintained across the globe so that needs are known and resources are shared. And, it’s because someone is receiving that check or cash, counting it, depositing it, tracking it in the right account, and distributing it appropriately.
Women of the ELCA is served well by our churchwide treasurer, 64 synodical treasurers, thousands of congregational unit treasurers, and the volunteers who support them. There are thousands more serving as treasurers in ELCA congregations. Will you join me in saying “thank you” to these women and men who faithfully serve so that lives can be changed by your generous donations?
Emma Crossen was former director for stewardship and development for Women of the ELCA. This Throwback Thursday blog first ran in May 2014, but is still relevant today. Here’s how to give to Women of the ELCA and support the ministries you love.
Feature photos: WELCA @ 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering | Rachel Barrett, Ressurection Lutheran, Indianapolis, Ind., holds a sign sharing the message to “End Human Trafficking.”