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Featured Biblically Speaking, is GIVING supposed to be a SECRET thing?

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by Monksailor, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. Monksailor

    Monksailor Active Member Supporter

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    AND, IRS rulings aside, should churches be keeping record of or recognizing individual giving? (No room for this in space allowed for title.)
    Allow me to offer three other's comments first:
    • "Still, it is also possible to have outward works but no inner reality. In this instance, religion is a pretense. Six times in the Sermon on the Mount, alluding to three distinct exercises, Jesus employs the term secret:

      • Give “in secret…and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:4).
      • Pray “in secret…and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (v. 6).
      • Fast “in secret…and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (v. 18).
    The Sermon on the Mount is addressing the issue of authenticity. Just how genuine is our relationship with the Lord Jesus? It is altogether possible to practice an outward display of piety—to “talk the talk”—without demonstrating any inner reality of godliness. This is true of every professing Christian,..." The Importance of What We Do in Secret and,
    • " The Talmud praises a man who gives charity in secret, saying, “A man who gives charity in secret is greater than Moses our Teacher.” The sages taught that giving charity in secret turned away God’s displeasure with a man, as it says in Proverbs 21:14, “A gift in secret subdues anger.” and " Yeshua told His disciples to do their giving in secret so that they will receive a reward from their Father in heaven:..." from: Giving in Secret and,
    • " But as followers of Jesus, we must do our best to remember the real reason we should be generous. Our giving should come not from a desire for human affirmation, but rather it should come from us wanting to honor our Heavenly Father. And one way we can honor Him is to emulate His character." " As His followers, we should be striving to give as He did — out of love, not out of our want for recognition." Giving In Secret - Higher Aim

    Considering the admonition from Jesus toward secrecy of giving and the other material above, why pass a plate or post a box in public view or have the treasurer/accountant for the church allocate names to any financial accounting documents regarding any donations viewed by any other except the giver (and IRS, if mandated) or otherwise disclose names of contributors to anyone? In doing so are they not perpetrating a crime/offense against the giver, especially if the giver wants the honorable status of anonymity?
     
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  2. brinny

    brinny everlovin' shiner of light in dark places Supporter

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    Churches can keep records of it, unless it's given "anonymously", as in "cash" in an offering plate, etc.
     
  3. Unofficial Reverand Alex

    Unofficial Reverand Alex Look up Jason Evert on YouTube; he changed my life Supporter

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    Putting money in an envelope is standard practice; it keeps the amount secret, and it's just more practical to have people give whilst everyone's around (makes it harder to forget your weekly obligations!).

    As for the Sermon on the Mount, that is important to keep in mind. I like to do my giving in secret, when I'm in Church not during the weekend service, to just put my donation in while nobody can see me. Even when I do give during the service, I try to place my hand around the money, so people can't see that it's $20 bills (I'll reveal the amount here, because it's anonymous, and God willing, inspires people to give more).

    I actually talked to my priest about this in Confession. I mentioned that sometimes, when I give, it's just because I want to receive; I give for selfish reasons, even if my giving is in secret. (Remember Luke 6: "Give, and it will be given to you...") My Confessor gave a great response; I'll quote it as best the Spirit lets me remember it: "We are human beings, and we have a thousand different reasons for doing everything, even if we're only aware of a few of them at a time. Maybe you only realize your selfish motives, but the point is that you're doing good. Try to do good for good reasons, but if you just want God's reward, don't let that stop you from doing good. Remember that Jesus told us that we would receive rewards for giving; He wouldn't do that if He didn't want that to be part of our motivations! He knows we're going to be selfish sometimes, and He still wants us to do good, even when we're feeling that way."

    Tax deduction is good incentive for giving. Past that, I don't think records should be kept, but I'd like to hear input from someone who keeps such records before I make a judgement.

    Good thread, thanks for sharing! I look forward to the ensuing conversation!

    May God bless us all with abundant generosity; have peace & pray!
     
  4. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    Your Matt. 6 reference contrasts "secret" giving with religious bragging. Records kept for tax purposes are private, thus secret (with regard to those verses).
     
  5. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    The church must follow all local laws first above everything.
    Certainly they should safeguard privacy when humanly possible.
     
  6. Monksailor

    Monksailor Active Member Supporter

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    When some says, "and ______ aside," they are not dismissing it as a negligible factor in the overall realm of things but rather taking it out of the immediate, more specific equation/consideration.
     
  7. Monksailor

    Monksailor Active Member Supporter

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    PRIVATE? I can guarantee that not all churches keep giving records private. NONE should know, NONE but the record keeper and giver and IRS if such specific data concerning an individual giver is sequestered. That is PRIVATE. God says that a person's giving should be strictly between God and the giver and of course "Ceaser," if so ordered. It is NO one's business what another gives to God. If one feels compelled to give because an offering plate is passed or because others give or somehow out of regret this is the wrong motivation. I do not know how God will respond. "7Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give , not out of regret or compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver. " 2 Cor 9:7
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  8. Monksailor

    Monksailor Active Member Supporter

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    The OP referred to many more verses and different books from the Bible. That vs4 of Matt 6 is only one of three, vs.4,6, and 18, cited from Matt ch6., all of which revealed that God rewards what is given in secret. The contrast to showboating one's giving, praying, and fasting does NOT diminish God's value placed upon that which is given in secret. Regarding "private" please see other post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  9. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    But that "leak" of information isn't even close to the "showboating" described.
     
  10. Monksailor

    Monksailor Active Member Supporter

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    Sabertooth, the "leak" of information within the admin or even more inclusive of a church regarding a persons giving in church is a totally different concern and can be VERY destructive to the point of destroying a church. I have witnessed it.
     
  11. Monksailor

    Monksailor Active Member Supporter

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    I can see that no one wants to touch this subject except a few. Maybe I need to go in from a different angle but it is possible with all of the "prosperity" thinking and worldly thinking found in the church regarding rewards/favors and recognition being enjoyed by those who give to get such, keeping their giving secret would not serve their intentions/motives to give nor possibly those, of the ones who get.
     
  12. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote Supporter

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    I don't care whether people give in secret or have buildings and foundations named after them, as long as they give.

    At one time it was proposed the IRS have tiers of deductions for charitable giving, following the idea that giving to a museum or one's alma mater is not as necessary as survival-based charities fighting hunger, homelessness, genocide in the third world, etc.

    Not sure where giving to one's church fits into that theory; it really depends on what the church does with its money. Even within a church, donations to replace the church's air conditioning system aren't quite as altruistic as having a fund to cover the utility bills of church members suffering catastrophic financial straits.

    And as usual, I think God cares more about people's hearts than any formula that can be devised. Bill and Melinda Gates have a foundation that they donate gazillions of their dollars to, but it does an enormous amount of good. Others may be inspired to follow their example, and may feel confident that their foundation will spend the money wisely.

    Likewise, very wealthy people and companies will sometimes offer "matching funds" for each dollar donated to a worthy cause. Their going public with their willingness to give provides an incentive for others to give--even if others can only afford a $5 or $10 gift, they know it will be doubled through the gift match.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  13. Monksailor

    Monksailor Active Member Supporter

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    Most people do want their giving to be recognized at some point, even if they fain modesty. They treat the church just like another worldly club, so to speak, with eventually wanting recognition of their "investment" and "charity" (actually anything given) toward the cause; to aspire to a higher position of influence and power for themselves and their family or as a defense or substantiation. Some feel the need to "hedge" the conditions so as to be more favorable toward them. They want to get a reward from man AND God. The church is not God and God said you only get your reward from ONE or the other. Sadly, from what I have experienced in many places that is the case. To "inspire" others to give by one's giving is causing compulsion and God does NOT want us giving for that reason according to God Himself as we see in the references in the OP. The rich man who gave much of his wealth to the church was OUTGIVEN with just a few small coins by a poor widow in Jesus', God the Son's, eyes. Our giving, is merely returning to a God a small portion of all that He has given us. Some believe it is an act of obedience at the least.

    I am trying to put the act of giving in its place. Many fill positions of power and influence even in churches from their recognition of their giving history and wealth. This should be only a worldly/secular structure problem but sadly it is in the church and I have seen a great expounder of God's Word and a gentleman sink from the pastorate and a church split over such recognition in the church, even if exclusive to the administration chambers. And that split was horrible. It was so destructive that it split families; all because a self-serving and wealthy supporter was put into a powerful position and even when they started really ramping up their tyranny it was ignored and excused when addressed.

    Personal recognition in the church (at any level of membership) should be exclusive of one's Financial giving. Otherwise we can expect church politics at play.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  14. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    I just push a button on my computer. No one else knows but me, the church (and the IRS, if I take the deduction*).

    *To date, my tax software has recommended the standard deduction.
     
  15. Monksailor

    Monksailor Active Member Supporter

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    You forgot to add: your ISP, whoever they sell or make available (intentionally or not) your information, any and all governmental data leaching. By saying "church" and NOT ONE specific and exclusive individual, it is NOT secret at all and at least a small group but most likely over time, esp if your giving stands out as being more in dollar value, practically the whole church will know=CHURCH POLITICS rushes in, whether you wanted it or not. For myself, I do NOT want favoritism. I want to be in a teacher's position, for ex., because I Spiritually was qualified and had or showed aptitude for academic, wisdom, and leadership qualifications, NOT because of how much money I brought to the church and a political desire to "keep me (my money) around."
     
  16. Redwingfan9

    Redwingfan9 Member

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    I have long argued that having a collection during church services isn't part of worship and shouldn't be done. Churches should return to the Puritan and Scottish Presbyterian practice of having a box in the back of the church. That keeps giving private, even more so if folks donate in cash rather than checks.
     
  17. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    Those predate income tax (in the USA).
     
  18. Redwingfan9

    Redwingfan9 Member

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    There's no reason to make collections part of the church service. Beyond that, if you're giving to the church for tax purposes you have your priorities all wrong.
     
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  19. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    My giving would not change if there were no tax advantages, but I think it is good stewardship to claim them (when applicable).
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  20. Redwingfan9

    Redwingfan9 Member

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    The way taxes work today, unless you're wealthy you aren't donating enough to offset the personal exemption.
     
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