When People Won’t Take No for an Answer – And They’re Asking for Money

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I’ve lost count of how many of my ‘readers’ have told me I’m not going to heaven.  Some have even been as kind to tell me where I’m going instead.

So, what’s caused all this ruckus?

People have sent me emails asking for money, and I’ve said no.  Those very same people have turned on me and called me a barrage of nasty things.

This is quickly becoming a pet peeve, so I decided to address it publically on the blog (this way I can point people to this post rather than constantly trying to explain/defend myself).

First, I apologize publically for the fact that my blog name miscommunicates.  Money Help for Christians means I’m trying to help Christians with their finances.  It does not mean I have an unlimited supply of money to give to every citizen of every country in God’s beautiful world.  I am an individual, not an organization.  There are no headquarters behind Money Help for Christians.  The only staff I have is my wife who proofreads everything.  By the way, my only employee (my wife) works for free.

4 Things We Need to Understand When People Say No to Our Requests

Reality #1:  Money is a limited resource. 

It is unlimited in the sense that someone with enough drive, passion, and ability can always get more.  It is limited in the sense that what you have is what you have.  As such, when you manage your money you will be forced to say yes, and you will be forced to say no.  Deciding when to say yes and no can be difficult.

A Christ follower will likely be forced to say no to some very, very good benevolence and ministry opportunities.  I know I have. 

Setting boundaries and saying no are not anti-Christian characteristics.  God blesses us when we say yes, but he does not expect us to give to others what he himself has not given to us.  We don’t create the wealth.

Reality #2: The kingdom of God is larger than Me or You.

When I was fundraising to become a missionary, some churches and individuals told me they could not or would not support our work.  The first human impulse is to think that they must have some type of character or spiritual flaw.  That is not the case.

Instead, it means they’ve accepted other ministries that they feel called to fulfill.  May God bless and not curse them for that.

Saying no to me is not saying no to God or his Kingdom.

Reality #3: More character is revealed in a ‘no’ answer than a ‘yes’ answer.

When you attack a potential donor when they say no, they only feel more confident that the decision they made was the right one.  When we ask for a gift, it is just that – a gift.  We have no right to it, and we have no right to demand it.

Personally, when someone – on the phone or in person – starts to push me, I immediately withdraw the consideration of my gift.  My stewardship responsibility is too important to allow the strongest sales pitch to win my gift.  I give with intentionality, and when someone assumes to know my motives, they are closing the door to my heart, not opening it.

If God has blessed a person, we need to trust that God’s wisdom is working in that person’s life.

Reality #4: Accountability is healthy in any giving context.

I couldn’t tell you the number of emails I’ve received (at least 2-3 a week) to send money to a random bank account for xyz. 

I believe stewardship extends beyond what we earn and includes what we give.  To be wise with the funds we have includes being wise with how we give our money.  Each year, my wife and I decide what organizations and individuals we’ll give to.  Then through the year we’re always open to new needs and God’s working.  But whatever we give to includes some level of accountability.  I think that makes God smile, not want to curse a person.

However, that also excludes giving to anyone who is not accountable for the funds they receive.

Conclusion:

There is a desperate need in this world for things like food, health services, and education.  My heart does hurt for the suffering of fellow man.  If you are in a position of need, you are more than welcome to ask the body of Christ to help.  If, however, an individual says no, you must recognize that it may be because they are involved in other good works in the Kingdom of God.

Comments

  1. says

    A great post Craig. I just used the very same approach last week. My husband and I decide what charities we will support and, with few exceptions, we stick to that list. It makes saying no a little easier to do.

    • says

      Donna,
      Great to hear from you again. In our hearts (guided by the Spirit) we make decisions on behalf of others and I think we need to rest in the confidence of those choices even though people may belittle us for the decisions we’ve made.
      I think the intentionality you and your husband practice is important. Keep up the great work for God.

  2. says

    This is a very useful post.Trying to be good steward, I was suffering from this kind of dilemma. Now it gives me assurance and boldness to say ‘no’ when I am not convinced of giving.

    • says

      Pethuru,
      Your comment touched on an important lesson for us. We can have assurance and boldness even when saying no. Depending on the context, no can be a very loving word and Christlike word.

  3. Gary says

    Boy does that ever hit home. I’ve been told I’m not a Christian because, I’ve asked for rent that is due or because my renter wants some extravagant remodel. I’ve been asked for money from individuals I’ve previously loaned money to, on several occasions, and never been paid back. When I’ve told them, “so you want me to give you some money, because you haven’t paid the money back from the prior loans”, they become indignant, and accuse me of having an un-Christian attitude. My desire to help others, has too many times placed me at the brunt of others anger, which is why I believe God says in his word “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: Matthew 6:13, or give in secret.

    • says

      Gary,
      I appreciate your feedback.
      There certainly is a lot of unhealthy judgement surrounding this topic. It’s sad.
      I think my greatest challenge is to continue to grow in generosity without my heart becoming hard because of the increasing number of negative experiences. I guess that is one of that things that is impossible for man, but with the help of the Master we can continue.

  4. Wes Smith says

    Great post Craig. This helps re-affirm our approach not to give to people or organizations when we have not prayed about it. This is dissapointing to the good causes that call our home asking for money……..

  5. says

    “If, however, an individual says no, you must recognize that it may be because they are involved in other good works in the Kingdom of God.”

    Awesome statement.

    My recurring thread on charities is “pick your charity platform.” This has digressed a couple of times in response to rants about what charities or issues get attention or sponsors, into “pick your platform and let other people pick theirs”.

    The platform concept is quickly understood by my local readers because of our civic and social culture.

    • says

      Monroe,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I do think this is a concept that most people can understand and appreciate. Even those who are asking for funds.

  6. says

    Hello Craig – Thank you for seeking to “teach us to fish” as opposed to “giving us fish.” I have to admit, I chuckled a little bit when I read that folks were actually asking you for money…the fact that you took time to respond–and with tact and compassion says a whole lot about you. Again, thank you for the time, effort and expertise you put into this site, and thank you to your one-woman team of employees, too. May God abundantly bless you and your wife.

    • says

      Linda,
      Thanks for your comment. It is hard not to just pass over the emails I get. I know these are real people with very deep struggles. I do my best to pray for them and send them a polite email of why I’m unable to help.

  7. AM says

    I think it is important to try to use discernment when we support ministries financially. In this day and age there is a huge “false church system” masquerading as the true church. One of the forms it comes in is the prosperity gospel. Other warning bells are any balaam type ministries which sell ministry and spiritual gifts (for example buying a prophecy, buying an anointed healing cloth, paying for Christian counselling….etc) This is often seen on TBN and all over the internet there are various such ministries. I believe there are religious and deceiving spirits behind these ministries. And a prophet who sells prophecies is a false prophet because he is pimping God’s FREE GIFT for money (why would the Holy Spirit stick around in a minIstry that is pimping the gospel?!?! Jesus and his disciples NEVER charged money for any type of ministry). Therefore by default, if the Holy Spirit is not behing the false ministries, then it mean if we tithe to them then we are supporting the dark kingdom and promoting false doctrines. Scary thought…..

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