$9100 donation yields internal wrestling match

Unitedway2009 007 checkI am no superhero and this isn’t about me, but I was tested in my first year of operating a non-profit student ministry. Hope2Offer operates today on a small budget primarily tutoring, counseling youth and community outreach. Most of our services are now on The Orange Planet website since that gets all the attention, but the companies operate completely separate budgets.

In 2009 the check pictured was a donation from a very substantial company in town. They believed in what we were doing and wanted to contribute. Why $9100, I still couldn’t tell you to this day. But as a start up you can image how substantial this donation was. I couldn’t believe how God brought this guy to me; after all, this guy came to me, I didn’t approach him.

As I spent more time with him I learned that he wanted a few things in return for the donation. The short of it, what he wanted would violate the rules that monitor non profits.

Essentially it didn’t sound all that bad, I mean, he did say he was a Christian and “this is just how business is done in the real world”. He dropped the check and left. I looked at the amount and thought, wow, there is only $200 in our account now and this will really help with our mission. It did enter my mind that this must be how it all really works and who would really know.

A restless night of thinking about the entire process, I awoke with the solution. I called the guy back the next day and told him “I can’t take money with strings attached” and reiterated how it violated certain rules and ethics and wished he could understand. I again told him how we could really use the money and hoped he understood. There was a pause, then he began to rant “you idiot, you don’t even know who I am, you just ruined a relationship that could fund you for the next five years”.

After he left, I was thinking how it was a lot of money, although I hated the manipulation, I wished I could keep it. I’ve been told I am a principled guy. It sometimes can get in the way, but sometimes it just works. I wondered if I would be tested or rewarded down the road, but either way, it felt good standing for truth when no one was looking, just me and God.

I’ve probably failed many tests in life, but this one taught me that money with strings will ultimately cost you more in the end. Three years later a wise old man told me, “son, there will be many needs along this journey, but be careful who you take money from, some of it will cost you big in the end.” I never got a chance to tell him this particular story or how much his advice meant to me, I was too happy celebrating his one hundred thousand dollar donation. God is crazy amazing. Seriously, in ways that is unexplainable. This is my whole point I want you to understand,  in His perfect timing, in His way, God tenderly cares, and He will provide. He knows what you are going through and He sees our hearts and motives and cares every step of the journey. It may not come in money, but it will come in ways that you’ll say, only God could have done that!

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