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.
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.
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.
One of the greatest challenges for all of us is the tension between immediate gratification and deferred gratification. Over the past few generations there has been a substantial shift from a mindset of deferred gratification to a near-obsession with immediate gratification.
Do you believe that God is powerful enough, wise enough, and loving enough to take care of you without your help? When you can finally and fully trust God for your care and provision, you will never again need to worry about giving too much away during your lifetime.
Your degree of generosity is not measured by how much you give, it is measured by how much you have left over after you give. This definition should challenge all of us to reassess our current level of giving to determine if we should even be thinking of ourselves as big givers.