I once sat next to a dying woman and watched as she wrote out check after check to various individuals and charities. Her life's savings was being spent and she was smiling. With only days left to live, it was a race against time to see whether she could give away her money before her life was over. Suddenly, she chuckled. "Everyone should have this much fun!" she murmured, half to herself and half, I'm sure, for my benefit.
All her life she had lived quite frugally and, at the same time, quite generously. She denied herself little needless, pleasures so she could bless others with the extra she had saved. She was not rich, but it was amazing to see how much she had accumulated over the years. And, in her final days, she enjoyed the pleasure of giving it all away.
Since that day I've thought quite a bit about what she said and how she lived her life. She denied herself so that she could give. And she gave abundantly. Her happiness was not wrapped up in pleasing herself. Instead, her joy came from blessing others.
My biggest qualm about fundraising has always come from my reluctance to ask people to give -- even though I'm not asking for anything for myself. And yet, God seems to keep putting me in places where the need is far greater than my ability, leaving me to fundraise and pray.
This time around, however, our fundraising experience has been different for me. Because I have shared a portion of the donation money with my community, I have actually enjoyed this experience more than any other time. Not only are funds being raised to bring two Eastern European orphans to our home this summer, I am also able to spread cheer in my own community while introducing others to the needs of orphans.
Today as I write this, I have a different perspective on fundraising. I no longer shudder at the idea. I want to shout from the rooftops, "Come have fun with me!" Because, as St. Francis of Assisi so famously said, "It is in giving, that we receive..." And, as was demonstrated so beautifully to me by the woman who gave everything away with a smile, joy comes to those who give.
Everyone should have this much fun!