Affluent Christian families have become so conditioned by the appeal of the IRS’s “matching gift program” that many have unconsciously allowed the IRS to set the ceiling on their charitable giving—namely fifty percent of their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). For each dollar a family gives, they are giving sixty-three cents and the IRS is giving thirty-seven cents—a really nice deal! But this IRS “matching gift program” only applies to gifts made up to fifty percent of your AGI.
If you possess closely held company stock, Limited Liability Company (LLCs) units, Family Limited Partnership units (FLPs), excess manufacturing inventory, real estate holdings, personal residences, personal property, or publicly traded securities, these ought to be the first place you look for funding for both your immediate and your deferred Kingdom giving.
The idea of tithing as the standard for acceptable giving has so permeated the church that very few (including pastors and elders) even question its validity or application to those of us who are living on this side of the cross. Giving legalistically according to a formula too often produces a reluctant giver who is giving out of compulsion. Giving generously by faith produces a cheerful giver who is giving out of overflowing joy.
Almost everyone has heard this statement, but few people actually know who originally said it and where it can be found. It might come as a surprise to you to learn that this statement was made by Jesus. But it is found in a very unusual place. This statement is found in the book of Acts. Paul includes this statement of Jesus in his farewell to the elders at the church of Ephesus after his three year ministry with them.
The house I am suggesting that we need to be keeping is not the one made of wood and bricks that contains our stuff, but the one made of flesh and blood that houses us and the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 3:16 (ESV), Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
Freedom from the law of Old Testament taxation is not freedom to give less. It is freedom to give in the ways and the amounts that properly reflect our deep, abiding love and gratitude for our Father and His Kingdom. It should reflect our desire to give to Him with the same sacrificial abandon that He gave to us when He sent His son to rescue us.
When you really love… money is no object, giving is a delight, and no sacrifice is too great.
There are three key stewardship questions that every family of wealth must answer in order to maximize their lifetime giving: (1) How much is enough for us? (2) How much is enough for our heirs? (3) What are we going to do with what’s left over?
What we keep or consume for ourselves in this life stays in this life. What we share of what we have and who we are with others—what we generously give—we are sending on ahead for our heavenly enjoyment forever.
Jesus’ message about giving is both clear and simple: (1) Give, (2) Give purely, and (3) Give purely to glorify God and motivate others. Rather than concerning yourself with who will know about your giving, focus on who will be glorified by your giving and inspired to join you in giving adventures.