Reformed Quarterly Volume 9, Issue 4
“A line in the sand for the charitable deduction.” That phrase caught my attention, so I began to read. The article noted that recent tax laws had reduced tax incentives for charitable giving and new, more ominous proposals were under consideration behind closed doors. There are those who would tighten the noose on charitable giving — a sad fact, but true — and we may see more of such decisions soon.
All of which makes you wonder what would happen if the charitable deduction were removed entirely. Contributions to charities in general would undoubtedly drop, and perhaps even some Christian churches and organizations would suffer. But the real question is: to what degree should Christian ministries suffer? While the charitable deduction surely does make it less costly to give to the Lord’s work, it should in no way lessen the motivation or constraint which we feel to give.
And there is no time of the year more poignant than Christmas to demonstrate the essence of Christian commitment in loving and giving. We are reminded that God spared not only His only Son, but gave Him for us. That which was dearest to Himself He gladly gave for our sakes. Paul speaks of it as the “unspeakable gift.” Because God loved us, we love Him and each other. Because God first gave to us, we give ourselves to Him and give of ourselves to each other.
When Christ lives in us, our greatest concern is not what we get, but how much we can give. Knowing that God has given to us and will give to us all that we ever will need, we are free to give generously and unreservedly in return, discovering that it really is more blessed to give than to receive. We give ourselves and all that we have,endeavoring to be wise stewards so that our gifts will have the greatest possible effectiveness.
This Christmas, perhaps your purse strings are a little more loosened than usual — perhaps less, considering economic circumstances during this past year. Why not take some time to contemplate what the Lord has done for you and to reassess what you want to do for Him? It may change your life; it may mean a new career. One thing for sure, it will mean greater joy and satisfaction as you lay up treasures in heaven.
And that is our principal concern at RTS. How can we move beyond self-interest and worldly cares to give ourselves to eternal matters? That is why we train generation after generation of God’s servants who are willing to give their lives and all else for Him. When we think of what He has done for us, can we give any less?