Saturday, October 01, 2005

Giving and Receiving

One of the neat things that I get to do on my job is help people.

To be honest with you, I feel a little guilty as I'm typically representing my church and one of our minitries. People want to thank me and of course that is a good thing, I don't mind being thanked for what God is able to do. I just want to make sure that I don't get the credit for what other people are doing through our local church.

Friday was a great day as we were able to deliver TWO cars to people that really needed them. I'm a car guy at heart (aren't most guys!) and it's really a of fun to get a car in as a donation, get it titled and do what is necessary to make sure that it is safe and passes both the safety and emissions inspection and then be able to just give it to someone who really needs the car.

This Friday, a late model Nissan went to a single mom. The other vehicle went to a couple that for years has cheerfully labored in a minstry that feeds the homeless. They receive little to no income as almost everything goes to the homeless and they needed a car badly. Typically, it's not couples but single moms that end up on the receiving end of the "trusty-rustys" as one of our staff members have started calling my used vehicles. For the past three years, our church has sponsored the "Single Mom's Garage" as one of the offshoots of our every-Friday-car-cruise. We've been able to help dozens of women make sure their car received some basic maintenance and had some safety issues repaired completely free of charge. I've also been able to deliver at least a half dozen vehicles to these moms. The vehicles may have a few miles and may not be something as nice as you have in your driveway but they are safe, reliable and dependable transportation.

One of the interesting developments this past year was that IRS tightened down on the excessive use of the car donation as an easy write-off and tax deduction. That ruling actually has helped the church I work at as we give away the majority of our cars which allows the donor to still take the full donation. Other ministries that sell the vehicles can only give the donors a receipt for the net proceeds of their sale which typically is less than a private sale.

From my perspective, it really can't be about a tax deduction however that motivates a person to give. There are higher and better reasons. For example, look at Jesus' words that it is "better to give than receive". These were actually the words of the Apostle Paul who quoted Jesus ,

In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35
Note that the beginning of the verse "we must help the weak" helps set the context for "it is more blessed to give than to receive".

Unfortunately, I really don't think some of the Pastors or their flock really understand the thing about giving. Pastors need to teach stewardship and our opportunity and responsiblity to give. Some Pastors hope however to pick up the crumbs from really large donors and ignore the more responsible path of teaching stewardship.

Blogs aren't supposed to be long so here is my thoughts on Stewardship in a nutshell....

Stewardship is an acknowledgement that everything
we have belongs to the Lord and that He has called
us to live purposeful lives, investing our time,
talent and treasure in the Kingdom of God.

The Bible says that "The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it." (Psalm 24:1)

In our Good $ense Ministry, we teach that Financial Stewardship embraces giving our time, talent and treasure and our financial gifts should be

  • Proportional "The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea" Acts 11:29-30 "…Every one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income…"(1 Cor 16:2)

  • Consistent (1 Cor. 16:2) "On the first day of every week every one of you…."

  • Sacrificial "He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins" (Luke 21"1-4, Acts 2:45) Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity" (2 Cor 8:2)

  • Cheerful "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor 9:7) : "freely you have received, freely give" (Matt 10:8b)

So, keep on giving and know that you are truly blessed!

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