“Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.’” (Haggai 1:5, NIV)
Your stuff is trying to tell you something.
Each time your stuff doesn’t solve your problems, pay attention.
After you’re left bored by stuff that used to thrill you, listen closely.
When you’re hurt by people who don’t like you because of the stuff you do or do not have, take note.
What’s your stuff saying? Stuff tells you that your heart belongs to more than just trinkets and treasures. With a voice all its own, stuff reminds us that we are made for deep and lasting relationship that begins with our worship of God.
But stuff’s message can easily get lost in translation. Worship can go to it instead of God. Meaningful relationships get kicked to the curb. Living boils down to acquiring even more stuff.
When this happens, take a cue from Haggai.
Taking inventory of Israel’s stuff, Haggai said, “You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” (Haggai 1:6, NIV)
Haggai’s assessment uncovered a searing void in Israelite living. It didn’t matter what or how much they had, everyday life just wasn’t right. There should have been fullness and gladness. Instead there was emptiness and sadness.
And it’s the same for us today. Our worship belongs with the Triune God. Our stuff is meant to be used, enjoyed and shared for Him– not become our life’s pursuit.
So when your stuff leaves you wanting more, listen closely to what it’s saying.
3 Ways You Score by Giving Appreciated Stock
“He shoots; he scores!” the announcer yells. Music blares, colorful lights flash, and the crowd goes wild.
For hockey fans, there’s nothing quite as exciting as being in person to witness a hat trick – a player making three goals in a single game.
Less flashy, but almost as thrilling is the triple score of giving appreciated stock to Westminster Seminary California. It’s a smart and powerful way to further the important work of educating future pastors for Christian churches.
When you give appreciated stock, you score three personal benefits:
- Give from your excess resources without restricting your cash flow,
- Receive a fair market value tax deduction at the time of your gift, AND
- Avoid tax liability on the sale of appreciated stock.
You may not hear any blaring music or thunderous applause. Still, you can celebrate knowing you’ve accomplished a profound amount of good in a tax-efficient manner.
Feel free to do a fist pump, or even skate a victory lap or two. We promise we won’t judge.
An Extraordinary Giving Opportunity for Supporters 70 ½ and Older
What began as a temporary measure has stood the test of time as a smart and powerful giving option for seniors.
In 2006, Congress approved a two-year “IRA Charitable Rollover Option” that allowed certain seniors to give sizeable tax-free qualified charitable distributions (QCD) to their favorite charities. Since then, the law was repeatedly reinstated in two-year increments, until it became permanent in 2015.
As administrations have changed and tax laws have evolved, this truth has remained consistent: giving from an IRA remains the obvious choice for donors who qualify.
If you are at least 70 ½ years old, you can give up to $100,000 from your IRA (or $200,000 for couples) to Westminster Seminary California and receive significant tax benefits in return.
Any gifts from your IRA…
- allow you to give in a substantial way without affecting your cash flow,
- reduce your taxable income (whether or not you itemize!),
- can be used to fulfill any charitable pledges you’ve made, AND
- will fulfill all or part of your required minimum distributions.
It’s a time-tested, win-win, tax-wise giving solution!
3 Timely Reasons to Consider a DAF
Donor-advised funds have exploded in popularity over the past few years. As a result, more and more supporters are giving to Westminster Seminary California through these types of accounts.
Why? Well, for many people, it’s all about time.
Like a “charitable giving account,” a donor-advised fund allows you to give cash or non-cash assets (such as stock, real estate business interests or commodities) into a single fund. Then, at a time that works best for you, you can recommend grants be made from that fund to Westminster Seminary California and the other ministries close to your hearts.
Giving through a donor-advised fund presents three timely benefits.
- Receive an immediate tax deduction at the time of your gift. This is particularly beneficial when you’re trying to beat the clock for end-of-the-year giving. So long as you deposit your gift into your donor-advised account by December 31, you can claim credit on this year’s taxes. You can decide later how best to distribute the funds.
- Address real-time ministry needs. The administrator for your donor-advised fund will manage and liquidate your stock, real estate and other non-cash assets. Then, whenever you feel compelled to give, you can promptly direct those funds to ministry.
- Save time when giving to multiple ministries. Because you have a generous heart, we know you probably support other causes besides Westminster Seminary California. Streamline your giving and record-keeping by gifting all cash, stock or other appreciated assets into a single charitable account.
Is it time for you to consider a donor-advised fund?
Through Westminster Seminary California’s partnership with Barnabas Foundation, you have access to the Steward’s Fund, a donor-advised fund that supports your Christian values. When you give to the Stewards Fund, you can be sure your gifts will be used only in ways that bring glory to God and serve the needs of His treasured creation.