“ACCEPTIVA” – this popped up (labeled as spam) in my email inbox about April 2009. It shows up every month and now instead of dreaded spam, it is my favorite recurring email. ACCEPTIVA is good news in the gospel sense. It is the e-version of a receipt for my recurring online gift to the Hunger Offering.
Frankly, I love recurring giving… but, come to think of it, I may love it for all the wrong reasons. First off, a recurring gift makes me appear much more generous than I normally am. Admittedly, I might put the cost of the meal in my Texas Hunger Bank every month, but I am pretty sure I wouldn’t actually be turning in the collected cash to the offering every month. The offering might have to wait 6 months to get my collected gifts. Also, I so rarely write checks anymore for monthly expenses, I know I wouldn’t be writing a monthly check. So by committing to an online a recurring gift, the offering is getting money on a regular basis and I am basically on automatic pilot going about the rest of my life, but actually being more generous than normal.
Try as I may, guilty as-all-get-out, I have never been able to live up to all the admonishments of scripture and impassioned special offering appeals to be consistently intentional, sacrificial and joyful in giving. I try, honestly, to be intentional, sacrificial and joyful but the pace and demands of my life seem to work against consistency …of many kinds, it seems….but especially when it comes to money. So my second reason that I love recurring giving is that it actually allows me to act consistently, even if it is not a conscious habit every month. The consistent gifts become intentional and they can approach sacrificial, at least a sacrifice of one meal.
On my worst day when I feel like I have done nothing even remotely worthy of Jesus’ name, there is an added bonus. My gifts to the ministries of the Hunger Offering are multiplying for goodness around Texas and the world. This actually feels like grace and reminds me that God is the true generous giver.
The third reason I love recurring giving is because of the joy of junkmail. I know it is probably not at all what scripture meant when it says “God loves a cheerful giver.” But when I see that ACCEPTIVA pop up every month, I am truly happy. ACCEPTIVA is my favorite email. It reminds me that even though I may be forgetful and slow, inconsistent and negligent, hungry people are being fed in Jesus name. In spite of my shortcomings, the offering is supporting water wells in Peru and Asia, children in Africa, hungry in the colonias of the Texas border, families in Brownwood, gypsy outcasts in India, farming and local vegetables for healthy eating…etc. etc. until through 125 projects my gifts are adding at least a bit to the $740,000 of ministry across the world.
So it turns out I AM a cheerful giver – smiling at my favorite junkmail. The sight of “ACCEPTIVA”, reminds me of another scripture…”where your treasure is, your heart is also.” That is a pretty good benefit of recurring giving – my heart begins to a take trip following this treasure, to the mission and ministry of changing the world, one bite at a time in Jesus name.
The slogan of the Hunger Offering is “Give Texas Something to Say Grace Over,” giving the cost of one meal once a month to the hunger offering as a part of the Prayer, Care Share strategy of Christian discipline and generosity. Small gift, significant impact. Great idea.
But HOW?? How do I give the cost of one meal once a month? Any person or church can go to www.BGCT.org , scroll down, click GIVE ONLINE and choose the World Hunger Offering from a menu of choices. The recurring gift option allows me to give any amount every month. Back in April, I set up a recurring gift, calculating the cost of a family meal and now every month, ACCEPTIVA pops up to thank me for my gift to World Hunger.
As far as I am concerned, it was a great experiment to develop online giving for the World Hunger offering. Many of you have become Hunger Advocates and made miracles happen. Join me in learning to love your junk mail. Get your own “ACCEPTIVA”.