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Monday, February 28, 2011

Rustler Article for 2.23.11

Part of the talk about fiscal responsibility swirling around Austin, Washington, and many dining room tables is the idea of making certain tax-deductions no longer deductible. For instance, one idea to increase tax revenue is to no longer allow people to claim their mortgage interest as a deduction when they itemize their tax returns. Included in this is language about disallowing such an exemption for charitable donations to organizations like churches.
To put this in common terms, it could come about that charitable donations to your local church could no longer be tax deductible.
Let me first say that such legislation is HIGHLY unlikely to be passed: there are too many institutions (besides churches) that depend on charitable donations to survive, whether they are educational institutions or simply tax shelters for the rich.
However, the possibility did get me thinking. If such legislation were to be passed, I wonder if people would be faithful in their giving if there was absolutely no financial benefit to them at all. Would we be givers if there were no tax shelters or giving records to be had?
We’re in need of motivated givers. Not those motivated by the benefits of giving, even if those benefits are ‘godly.’ No, we need men and women who see part of worship the sharing of their treasures with the rest of the Christian community. We need givers who would be faithful in their contributions to the Kingdom even if our own little American kingdom didn’t give them a bonus for it.
Let’s not fear legislation; let’s fear the human spirit within us that automatically hordes and acts in greed and selfishness in the name of prosperity and security. Let’s allow the Church to truly be the Church.

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