Editorial: Of Tax Receipts and the Judgment Seat

The complexity of life and the increased accountability to government agencies has necessitated the establishment and the use of the various trusts which serve the believers in assembly fellowship throughout North America. These trusts provide a valuable and needed service. Many believers and assemblies have availed themselves of this service to safely and effectively send their gifts to laborers both at home and abroad. Mail to foreign lands is frequently “lost” or intercepted. Checks never arrive. All this is obviated by use of the trusts.

An added benefit of this means of giving is that it provides a recognized tax receipt for the purpose of year-end income tax reporting. This enables believers to be wise stewards. Money is saved by this method, enabling them to give even more to the work of the Lord. So far, so good.

But there has been one drawback from this form of giving. Years ago, when believers saw a man laboring in the gospel, they simply put their hands into their pockets and gave. Likewise, if they saw some who were not “full-time” workers, doing God’s work in God’s way, laboring in gospel work, children’s work, or other outreach efforts, they gave freely to sustain the work and to express fellowship. But now we have become sensitized to the need to have a “tax receipt” for our giving. Since those who are not commended full-time to the work cannot receive funds through the trust, it may cause other believers to be hesitant about giving.

There are many brethren and sisters who give of their time and energy to the work of the Lord without an official “letter.” There are those who take their summers off from secular employment and assist in gospel efforts or children’s work. Some do it because they wish to serve in this capacity. Others are testing the waters for future guidance in the service of God. Anyone who has engaged in outreach work knows how costly, on a monetary basis, this can be. Rent, supplies, increased transportation costs, and sundry other things quickly add up and tax the resources of many. These believers are sacrificing income through the summer months and adding to their expenses as well. One is quickly reminded of Mr. Frank Pearcey’s succinct but telling adage: “When your outgo exceeds your income ….”

While God’s work done in God’s way will never lack for God’s resources, are we overlooking our responsibility? Are these servants of the Lord not worthy of consideration by individuals and by assemblies? Should not we express fellowship with them in a monetary way, as well as prayerful support and encouragement? Should we not try to, at least, meet some of their expenses? There may not be a tax receipt for the government of your land, but there is a Judgment Seat of the Governor of all the earth (Psalm 22:28; 2 Corinthians 5:10).