Unintended consequences – generous gift to local church undermines their giving

Mark Williams tells of a giving a generous offering when he was blessed to be the guest preacher at a church in India – Do You Destroy Through Dependency?

What he did not expect was his graciousness hurting the congregation.

How did that happen?

He gave two $20 bills.

Seems like a reasonable amount, doesn’t it? Yet he explains:

[T]he pastor let me know what a big mistake I had made. “You created a problem today with your offering,” he explained. I was taken aback by his comment and wondered if he was joking. But he was quite serious.

He continued to explain, “We have never received a gift so large before and probably never will again. Now the congregation will think I have wealthy donors in the USA who send money and that they will not need to give. Their tithes and offerings will seem small and unimportant compared to what you have given and they will be reluctant to practice stewardship.”

So that gift will make it more difficult for the local pastor to lead his flock to better stewardship. Their spiritual growth will be slowed by the kindness of Pastor Mark.

If my comment makes you sad, you understand the concept of unintended consequences.

We need to be so careful that we don’t cause some unexpected hurt when we help others.

Here are some of his questions to ponder before giving:

How might my giving negatively impact this person’s motivation?

How might my giving create dependency?

What are my own personal motivations for giving or helping? (To assuage my guilt, to get them off my back, to impress someone with my “generosity”?)

If I give now but don’t continue giving, what will happen? Have I given a fish or taught them how to fish?

Good questions.

Check out the full article.

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