Taste the fruit.

My friend, Gary Hoag, says, “Inspect the fruit.” Good Idea, that. Who doesn’t flip an apple around before taking a bite? No one l know likes to sink their teeth into the squishy flesh of a rotten apple, especially when prepared for a crisp, clean, rewarding bite of heaven on a hot day.  What if Adam had averted his gaze from the comely look of his wife and really examined the apple? He was, after all, the first scientist. It was his job to, “Go differentiate- and name stuff.” (Genesis 1:28, 2:15) If he had just tested the apple, would we all be in Eden?

Actually, the whole deal required a much deeper look. That’s the point with fruit! I have actually bitten into a wax peach while at the home of a friend, who I assumed had set the fruit out to be eaten- not just looked at.

Fruit isn’t always what it seems.

Which leads me to the point of this post. How do you know that your fundraising endeavors are led of the Holy Spirt?  Good fruit is produced, specifically, when givers and receivers are equal at the foot of the cross and when they experience a communion of giving and receiving.

I picture Eve as walking about looking at the wonders of the garden when she encountered a rather attractive snake who said, “Are you looking for everything God has for you? How about tasting from this Apple tree?  If you taste of it, you will have not only good knowledge, but all knowledge – God’s knowledge.”  Eve knew God told her to enjoy the garden, but she was not to taste of that tree. Satan tempted her to go another way.  In the end, it was not good for Eve, or Adam.

Clearly, both Adam and Eve thought it was a good idea to taste the apple, and they were wrong. Good ideas are not always Godly ideas!

A good idea that is a Godly idea is one that has its genesis in Jesus- not Satan- and is renewed for every generation. Eve thought she had a good idea, but she missed it by a bite. The rotten taste of dead flesh filled her mouth- and she and Adam were cast out of the garden into a world dominated by the knowledge of evil.

This is the same penalty for taking communion in a wrong manner- most often by being deceived into biting into what you think is an entirely good idea and having it be bad from the start. (1 Corinthians 11:17-34)

When fundraising, a communion of giving and receiving exists when everyone is equal at the cross in what we share. There is no overdog or underdog. The amount of money being given in this sacred act only counts for good in the act of sacrifice, and its value is not determined by the size or amount of the gift. At this place of equality at the foot of the cross, givers and receivers enter into a sacred bond held by Christ in which each is strengthened by what the other has. This has always been true of communion and always will be. Between givers and receivers, two main commitments are made. The giver offer trust. The receiver offers accountability. And, the result for both is joy.

How do you know this is happening?

Taste the fruit!

Is it bitter from acrimony, or fear, or is it merely rotten? Is there any deception, exaggeration, hidden resentments or fear? Is there a power- or a racial dynamic, that distorts our equality?

In Galatians 5, Paul outlined  a beautiful picture of freedom.  In verses 16-24, Paul gives us keys words to know when we are moving with the spirit. For a moment, focus on the word, “Joy.”

The joy of great tasting fruit is produced by the Spirit of love, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When we experience these attributes with  our brothers and sisters, we are in Godly communion with each other.

It’s not easy to grow good fruit, but it’s worth the work. And when you see what looks like good fruit, inspect it before biting in, you might save us all from a lot of trouble.

(To learn more about the communion of giving and receiving, and its resultant work of sustained interdependence, go to the Global Trust Partners website, GTP.org; and First Fruit Institute’s website, firstfruit.org. where you can watch videos and listen to podcasts about this topic. You can also learn more about The Communion of Giving and Receiving by reading the book, When Money Goes on Mission: Fundraising and Giving in the 21st Century, available at whenmoneygoesonmission.com.)

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