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  • Writer's pictureFather Lance W. Harlow

The Size of a Mustard Seed

"Fundraising is a very concrete way to help the Kingdom of God come about. The Kingdom is where God provides for all that we need. Jesus compares the Kingdom to a mustard seed, "which, at the time of sowing, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth. yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade" (Mark 4:31-32). Even seemingly a small act of generosity can grow into something far beyond what we could ever ask or imagine--the creation of a community of love in this world, and beyond this world, because wherever love grows, it is stronger than death. Indeed, if we raise funds for the creation of a community of love, we are helping God build the kingdom. We are doing exactly what we are supposed to do as Christians. St. Paul is clear about this: "Make love your aim "(1 Cor 14:1). (Taken from Henri J.M. Nouwen, A Spirituality of Fundraising, Nashville, TN: Upper Room Books, 2010).

Have you ever been stressed out about raising funds for your charity? I have on lots of occasions. And I have to remind myself frequently of this quotation from Nouwen about the Kingdom of Heaven because sometimes I worry so much about getting the major gifts that I forget about all the small mustard seed gifts that can grow into something beautiful. I also have to remind myself that I am not a professional fundraiser. I am a priest whose primary vocation is to preach the Kingdom of God. The corollary of that preaching is that my vocation should increase the amount of love in the world: that is, love for God and love for neighbor. My life is not about getting money out of people. It's about getting people to love God and neighbor. Donating to charity can accomplish that!

When people do give money out of love to support the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children, even if it's a modest amount, then my mission has been effective. Because even a small donation--just like a mustard seed--is full of potential to grow into a large mustard bush. A donation made out of love increases the amount of love in the world and grows!

When I reorient my focus to love, then it doesn't make the work of preaching/fundraising so burdensome. It simply puts it back into the right perspective: "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these

Small gifts are like a mustard seed: they grow into something beautiful for God.

things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). Plant love and love will grow into something beyond your imagining.

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