The short version: A young family fairly new to the church needed help with their mortgage refinancing. Due to them both being out of work at the same time they missed a couple of mortgage payments and needed to have a 'loan modification'. This modification required a hefty up front downpayment of $2000. They had $1100.
I did all of the background checks. They are legit. The request is legit. And forclosure on their home was scheduled for - I kid you not - December 23rd.
We contacted local organizations - no one helps with mortgage, only rent (We can discuss that disturbing trend at another time). Our church's own mission fund only approves $500 p/year. They asked if they could borrow the $400 and pay us back in January to get them to that $2000 total they needed.
I asked our stew/fin person. I begged. I pleaded. Her big concern is what if we do not get that $400 back? We are VERY tight on budget, but let's face it - whether I got it from a kind-hearted parishioner or we dug into our plus funds from previous years or asked our own fundraising committee for it, we could somehow get it if we needed it.
On Sunday I preached on the joy of giving. By this time she had seen all of the paperwork and new it was all above board and legit. We had just saved someone's home... for Christmas... for the mere price of $400. But there was no joy for her, only fret.
My heart weeps for this woman who is so focused on fretting over the bottom line, that she has failed to see the joy.