By now you have likely seen an article or listened to a news report talking about the new tax law. The concern, for fundraisers especially, is that the new tax bill will make it even harder to itemize and people will not be as motivated to give. The thought is that without the incentive, giving will decrease. We can probably all agree that the concern is merited.
For some time, I have been seeing signs that our efforts of asking are trending toward becoming more seedy, more needy, and more greedy. Now, with more fuel for the fire, my fear is these things are going to move even deeper into our fundraising verbiage and habits and we will inadvertently be teaching the wrong things about finances and giving.
Why Do We Give?
Let me ask you three questions:
- Do you and I give because of a tax deduction?
- Do you and I think that our donors are giving primarily for a tax deduction?
- Are we encouraging that mindset because it works in our favor?
The way we answer the questions above reveals something important about our hearts. However, no matter how we answer, it does not change that according to our doctrine of stewardship, all resources belong to God, and He made us stewards of the possessions we have.
The tension between the fear in our hearts and the truth of God’s word give us a unique opportunity to remember His truth, confess, and realign our way to match His. As God’s stewards, we are commanded to give our first fruits to Him; no matter what the nation's tax laws are.
Honestly, I hope that this tax change starts a conversation that wakes us to this doctrine and the freedom it offers. I hope that it will remind us of the power that comes when we obey God and trust Him as He has called us to.
God commanded us to give Him the first fruits because He knew how weak our hearts would be and how easily we would be tempted to turn to governments and bank accounts for our security.
Can you imagine what we would have if we gave our first fruits to God? What if our actions show that we remember He owns it all? Christianity would have billions of dollars in its economy, poised to impact the world. No tax law would have the power to slow us down. I pray that as we re-learn, we also begin to teach with passion to: our employees, our volunteers, our children, our teens, our donors, and our friends.
We simply don’t have enough time or energy to both worry about these changes and continue in the work we are called to do.
Free to Ask Boldly for Funding
Do you see how God’s ideas for our finances free us to ask boldly for funding? When you ask someone to give their physical means to the ministry, you are giving them an opportunity to raise their hands to God and confess,
“This money is not what keeps me safe. No, Lord, this money is Yours!”
And, you let them become part of the work to redeem this broken world for His glory; to bring beauty from ashes.
I thank God for this time in history, this time that you and I were chosen to live in! Friends, what if we boldly live it out? I pray this for all of us. Consultant. Ministry Leader. Pastor. Development Officer. Fellow Believer. It is time to return to the power of obedience and wholeheartedly surrender to our God.
Boldly tell the story of your vision. Thank people for their gifts. Continue to report back on the progress their contributions are making. Remind them that they are not slaves to their money and neither is your ministry. Continue with your goals and donors will follow you. If you have a incredible vision, challenge people to fund it. Refuse to lead from a place of fear. Refuse to dream small, safe dreams. Refuse to look to your funds or your government for the future God has planned for you. Refuse to worship your money or your government.
Believe it, teach it and run your ministries from it’s truth. No matter what the tax code is or becomes, let us give happily to the Lord and teach all believers to do the same. As we return to the teaching of stewardship, we can weed out the seedy, needy, greedy fundraising habits we have unwittingly embraced, and clear the way to really see the work and will of our Father.
Keep running the good race friends. We are not done yet!
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