Even in our modern 21st Century culture much of how we view Biblical stewardship can still be traced to Old Testament passages concerning “tithing.”
In Leviticus 27:30, Moses writes that “A tithe of everything of the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” The tithe to the Israelites was intended by the Lord to be a sacrificial gift as it represented the “first fruits” of their ever-important harvest, which was relied upon to feed families for the following year.
Our Christian culture often takes these Old Testament passages to mean that Christians should give only 10% of our income to the church or other Christian ministries. While the tithe of income (10%) is an important aspect of our overall stewardship, 2 Corinthians 9:7 says that “each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Plus, Christ reminds us that our primary focus should be about storing up treasures in heaven rather than on earth (Luke 12:33; Matthew 6:19–21).
Many folks who support Christian ministries have been blessed with significant resources that go far beyond their needs or wants. From a biblical perspective, such blessings from the Lord are accompanied with greater responsibilities of stewardship: “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48).
As with the Levites, the ministers of their day, who depended on the first fruits of their fellow Israelites, Evantell depends upon generosity to continue in its ministry. Considering the great resources in this community of supporters and those around them, there are more ways than ever to be good stewards beyond giving a tithe from income or resources that might end at the death of a donor.
As an estate planner, my firm has had the privilege to counsel many families to use the following vehicles to be better stewards of the resources God has provided:
- Testamentary Gifts: A testamentary gift is simply a gift to an individual or organization at the time of death as specified by a will or a trust.
- Charitable Remainder Trusts: A trust that allows a donor to transfer property to a trust and receive an annuity for his or her lifetime and, at his or her death, the charity will receive the remainder of the trust funds.
- Charitable Lead Trusts: A trust where property is transferred so that a charity receives distributions from the trust for the life of the donor and, at his or her death, the donor’s beneficiaries will receive the remainder of the gift.
- Donor-Advised Funds: An account that allows a donor to contribute property to a sponsoring organization and make recommendations on how the money is to be allotted to eligible charities as grant recipients.
- Charitable Foundation: Typically, an option for high-net worth individuals, a charitable foundation is a separate and distinct charity that can be created and run by a family for generations to benefit any charitable cause of the family’s choosing.
All of these vehicles provide additional ways that you can be obedient to God’s calling of stewardship. If you are interested in learning more about these type of generous giving opportunities, please contact Evantell or myself so we can evaluate how you might expand your support of the ministry through the resources God has given you stewardship over.
- Visit EvanTell’s Legacy Giving Page: evantell.org/legacygiving
- Utilize EvanTell’s charity gift partner: National Christian Foundation
Today’s guest post comes from Rick Howard, an Of-Counsel attorney at Walker & Doepfner, P.C. in Dallas. The firm’s practice is focused on estate planning, estate administration, and probate litigation. In addition, he has an extensive background in defense litigation in state and federal courts throughout Texas.
- View Rick Howard's full bio
- Learn more about the firm at: W-DLaw.com
- Email Rick Howard at: Rick@W-DLaw.com.