What are your New Year Resolutions? Lose weight, exercise more and get in better shape are often close to number 1. Sometimes you keep a resolution like that for a few weeks or maybe even a few months with strong encouragement. Then the busy days of spring begin to take over – that new treadmill you invested in becomes a clothes hanger and that gym membership is all but forgotten, “(Yawn) I’m just too tired today …”
Instead, make one of your resolutions for 2019 to review your financial and estate plans. Even better, think about adding a few fresh ideas in which your entire family can become involved! Here are some suggestions to prayerfully consider.
1. Serve: Serve together as a family, a small group or just as a group of friends. Find a ministry that touches your heart and about which you can be passionate. Schedule yourself to serve regularly in this ministry with your family, a group of friends, or involve your small group. On a simpler note, you can visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while, perhaps someone out with an illness or injury.
2. Broaden your view: Look for new opportunities to broaden your giving. Never neglect giving your tithe to your home church. But know that God has called us to give over and above the tithe. Read and reflect upon Deuteronomy 15 and Luke 12:33-34. Know this! God was amazingly generous with all of us. We did not and could never earn the gift of life He has given us, especially our salvation through Jesus and the gift that He was and is to us. John 3:16.
3. Give wisely: When you find a ministry that touches your heart, consider giving as well as serving. And you can give in different ways. Instead of just monetary giving, consider giving an appreciated asset, stock, or a piece of property. This type of giving may be better for both you and the charity than if you sold and donated the net proceeds. This strategy may reduce your tax burden and increases the amount the charity receives. Not sure how to do this? The Idlewild Foundation can show you how. Just give us a call at (813) 264-8713.
4. Give generously: It would be easy to think Jesus got it backwards with Matthew 6:21. It would be easy to say that where your heart is, there your treasure will be. But that isn’t what Jesus said.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Was that a mistake? Did Jesus get it wrong? Of course not! Your treasure does end up where your heart directs it, but if your treasure lies with kingdom work and the things of God, it is also true that your heart will follow. You do give to what really matters to you, but also when you give to a mission, its importance will grow in your own heart and mind. In answering the question about where your treasure is, you will also be answering the question “Where is your heart?” The point Jesus is making is that they go – and flow – together. A different way to address this is to ask “Where is my focus?” Where am I looking? Am I focused on what is seen or what is unseen but known to be true? A final way you can address this same issue is to ask “Who am I serving?” Three questions with one answer. If your money is in a particular spot, your heart, your focus and your service will follow!
5. Learn about Giving Funds: Explore the possibilities of a Donor Advised Fund that will allow you a deduction now, but choose who you want to support and how much you will give at a future date. This kind of fund can be an efficient means of setting up recurring donations and makes record keeping for taxes easy.
6. Share your experience with others: If you have a life example of how God has blessed you and how you have given back to Him, share your story. Tell your small group, your friends, and your family about how you’ve been blessed and how you’ve been able to bless others. One of the best and most effective tools is the tool called “story.”
Why not spend some time reviewing your spending for the last year? By looking at your bank and charge card statements you’ll get a pretty good picture of where your money was spent. Did you find ways to glorify God through any of your spending? Did your spending in 2018 give more glory to yourself than to God? Could you do better? Give God the credit He is due. He made your income and your abilities possible.
18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth …
Take some time to sit down with your family and discuss ways to manage your money more effectively. Consider speaking with someone from the Stewardship Ministry of Idlewild Baptist Church or with us at The Idlewild Foundation. We can give you tips and ideas in managing your money. And don’t worry. You won’t be bludgeoned until you agree to give money to the Foundation! On the other hand, you will learn ways that you can further God’s kingdom by sharing His blessings with others.
You can contact us at The Idlewild Foundation, (813) 264-8713 or email Foundation@idlewild.org.
About the Author
John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus. He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016. He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.