Saturday, October 4, 2008

Biden & Palin's charitable giving

In an article in USATODAY the recently released tax returns of Sarah Palin were discussed. Here are a few paragraphs:

"The Palins gave $3,325 to charity last year, or about 2% of their income. In 2006, they donated $4,880, or 3.8% of their income. Those donations included clothing and household items given to the Salvation Army in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, the tax returns show. Comella said the Palins also gave money to local churches.

Biden and his wife, by comparison, gave $995 to charity last year, or about 0.3% of their income, and averaged charitable gifts of $369 over the past decade, his tax returns show."

As a long time pastor, I know that many treasurers struggle with knowing what people give to the church. If they are not spiritually strong they become bitter when they see what people drive and where they live and then see what they give. (A note to myself - "Make sure the next treasurer is closer to the Lord and know that Christian folk have many areas of immaturity, giving is one of them.) Someone has to know, IRS knows, the giver knows, but bottom line 

- God knows. There is an interesting episode from Christ's life, (Mark 12, Luke 21) actually about 2 weeks before he w

ent tot he cross to turn away the wrath of his Father from those who would believe on to himself. He is watching what people give at the temple offering "plate". 

He is 

close enough to see what the rich gave, the middle class but he mentioned a widow giving, the lower tier of the socioeconomic ladder.

A secular view of this would either be this is an invasion of privacy or that the poor should not pay taxes, especially "Church taxes".  But a secular mind does not know the pleasure of giving to someone that has given us everything. These minds miss the difference between a steward and and owner. A steward never owns and really neither does an owner unless you know the owner is God Himself!

This reminds me of a joke about an IRS agent that called a church to verify that a parishioner had given a large amount of money. The pastor who answered the phone said - if he hasn't  - he will soon!

I wonder if all of the TAX returns of church members were put in the USATODAY or the local paper if giving would go up! It probably would - but it would be giving from pride or prestige - and that is not the reason Jesus talked about the wid


When I picture the widow in my sanctified imagination, I see a happy lady, who is trusting in more that her bank account!

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