Thanks and The Rabbi and the Kopeks
THAT said, thank you all for reading PeaceBang. I had no idea you were out there. That's kewl. I am honored. I said that already. But I mean it.
We were talking the other day about asking for money in church. Jess posted a comment about what it was like being very short of cash in a generally wealthy congregation here: http://tinyurl.com/f4pj5
She reminded me of a story about a rabbi whose congregant has no money to host a proper celebration for his son's bris (circumcision, which, believe it or not, is a big party). The rabbi pulls the man aside. He says, "Listen, Shmuel. I have 100 kopeks that I owe to a man in the city. I wondered if you might take it to him." Schmuel says, "Rabbi, I have no idea when I'll be in the city. I'm sorry, I can't help you." The rabbi puts his hand on the man's shoulder. "Shmuel, it would be such a help to me if you could take this 100 kopeks and, you know, when you get to the city you'll deliver it for me. If you shouldn't happen to be going to the city right away, that's fine. There's no rush at all. Whenever you get there." He puts the money in the man's pocket, and the man is able to throw his son a wonderful celebration. When Schmuel goes later to ask the rabbi where exactly the kopeks should be delivered, the rabbi says, "Shah, I have no idea what you're talking about!" The man understands, and one day he proudly goes to the rabbi and gives him 100 kopeks "to help others."
(Maybe it's rubles. Maybe it's not kopeks. I'm repeating this from memory. Also, the guy's name isn't necessary Schmuel. Maybe it's Moishe. Or Abe. I don't know.)
I love this story. I think that the minister has to keep her eye out for people who are struggling financially and won't say a thing about it. They're often the ones contributing in so many important ways and bringing cans of tuna to the food pantry, to boot. Who's to say that the minister can't send an anonymous contribution from the Minister's Discretionary Fund to such a person or family?
I sure have. We shouldn't be waiting for people to come to us. Spread it around, spread it around. When I'm giving my money to a charitable cause I'm giving my life force. I don't want it to sit in a bank account.
Plus, we shouldn't be nickle and dime-ing our congregations to death.