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Generous Bake Sales

It's pretty clear that when it comes to giving, many people would rather keep things to themselves.  So, it is easy to understand that when someone is fundraising for some type of charitable donation that people are much more likely to "donate" when they get something in return.  A few examples include bake sales, car washes, benefit banquets, etc.  This is understandable in the secular world - we are so caught up in materialism that it is difficult to be a giver when we don't immediately (if ever) see a return on our investment.

But take a step outside of the secular world for a moment, and step into the greater Kingdom.  We are called to be givers, so why do bake sales and other fundraisers work so well even within the church?  Do we finally realize how bad those raising funds need them, and take the cookies or washed car because it's offered, or is what we get in return really an incentive to lure us into giving?  I know I'm guilty of wanting the baked goods.  Yes, I could have given to a cause weeks ago, but now there is pie!  If I give money I get the pie, and justify the high cost because it's going to a good cause.  But that's something that isn't right in my heart.  I wasn't in it for the giving, I was in it for the pie.  This isn't the kind of cheerful giving God wants.  Is it possible to cheerfully give, and accept something in return which is ultimately lowering the amount of your donation?  I'm not convinced a truly generous church needs to have fundraisers.  But, we are imperfect.  How do we become more generous givers, giving away what has first been given to us?

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."  (Matthew 6:2-4)