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Still developing: What kind of giver are you?

This political season has seen one billionaire arguing with another billionaire over tax returns and what those documents reveal as to the authenticity of one’s beliefs.

What would your tax return say about how you support what you believe? You may be like one of the many people I see each week in church who drop cash in the offering plate, and obviously do not need a receipt for tax purposes, or they would have used an offering envelope. These “drop-in givers,” for one reason or another, are not interested in receipts. This type of giver may be following the biblical injunction in Matt. 6:3 (NIV), “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” I can respect that.

There are also many Baptists who have told me that they don’t need a receipt because they have already maxed out their giving for many years into the future. I can respect that as well. These people have an awareness of where they are in their giving.

From what I know of these “deliberate givers,” they certainly have given to many good causes in which they substantially believe. This type of giver’s biblical injunction is Luke 14:28 (NIV), “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”

Jesus’ observation of the widow and her two mites in Luke 21:1-4 (NKJV) is relevant in a giving discussion. “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’”

God keeps better count of what we give and our motives for giving. I’ll let Him keep score, that’s not my job.

I dropped off some items at Goodwill the other day. As I was leaving, I was asked if I wanted a receipt. I responded, “No, thank you. That won’t be necessary.”

The value of the items was not worth the trouble any longer. Not that the items had little value or that they could not be used by someone; they could. The fact is I needed to let go of the items that I had moved around for decades between two states. Letting go of “my things” distressed me, so there is another kind of giver, a “distressed giver.”

As I drove away from the Goodwill drop box, I was reminded of 2 Cor. 9:7 (NLT), “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’” Whether we are “drop-in givers” or “deliberate givers,” we must not become “distressed givers” who hold on to our treasures too long.

There are some exceedingly worthy projects the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) is planning that you can give to cheerfully: Phase II of the Falls Creek Centennial Campaign, the Disaster Relief TEaM Center building campaign, or the OU or OSU BCM building campaigns. Be a cheerful giver today!

Contact me for more information about your gift for one of the capital campaigns of the BGCO, at 405/516-4868, mharkey@bgco.org, or toll free at 800/690-6933.

Marty Harkey

Author: Marty Harkey

Marty is the BGCO Chief Development Officer

View more articles by Marty Harkey.

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