Our Spiritual Ancestor: Sulayman Khan
Feast of 'Ala'/Loftiness - March 2, 2009

Our View of Sacrifice

Shoghi Effendi_Young Man

 "He hopes that the friends will display a certain amount of faith and courage and not fear present economic conditions. We should not let financial considerations hamper our work and discourage us in rendering our services. Giving lavishly during days of plenty cannot be termed sacrifice. It applies only to our activities when depression and economic difficulties seem to block the way . . . Whatever we sacrifice at present is to assure the welfare of humanity and ourselves as members of it in the future."

(On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, February 1932, Extracts from the USBN)

What is sacrifice? What does it mean in modern American society? How can we show our love for Baha’u’llah beyond giving up small, insignificant conveniences and privileges here and there? Though they add up, is this enough? Is sacrificing giving from our excess? To consider a different perspective, what would our collective material support of the Funds look like if we were to give from beyond our discretionary income, exceeding our previous notions of contributing, through universal voluntary sacrifices?

The reason we are asking these pointed questions at this time is because the National Fund is in crisis. To give an example of the far-reaching ramifications of the state of the Fund, recently, in addition to a hiring freeze imposed by the National Assembly, forty positions were cut from the National Administration.  This difficult decision was reached after having exhausted other cost-effective measures and seeing no other alternatives. These measures included postponing all non-essential maintenance and repairs to our National properties, reductions of up to thirty percent in every area of the budget and cuts to the National Assembly's meetings and travel schedule. All of these actions were taken in order to be able to sustain a balanced budget and avoid additional borrowing and an increased cash deficit. And yet, most of the cuts still will not have an immediate effect on the National budget, taking several months before any financial benefit of these actions will be realized.

Recently, increased activities in the defense of the friends in Iran demand the immediate attention and increased assistance of the National Fund for legal and external relations. And in December, the costs of the Six Regional Conferences called for by the Universal House of Justice were absorbed by the National Assembly so that every American believer had the opportunity to attend and unify around this call to action.

As Fund educators, we urgently need your help in educating the believers about this situation to stimulate sustained contributions to the Fund. There is no time to lose, friends.

We encourage you to engage the believers in your community in a serious discussion at Feast about our view of sacrifice as Baha'is and how we can assist our community to achieve a greater realization of our capacity. This means thinking and acting in ways we never have in the past. Continue to read the current issue of the BTB where we have included a story of one of the beloved Dawn Breakers and assist us in asking the question, "how can our sacrifices become a reflection of theirs?"

Please share your experiences, results and opinions on the Treasurers Cafe and let's generate a bold spirit of action.


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