A few days ago I had to pay my taxes and this year I owed some tax! Which is both good and bad: good that I had something to be taxed on and bad that I had to come up with it and my current estimated tax payment for 2014 at the same time. Poor planning?
So I emptied the savings account and wrote the checks and mailed them off and then started thinking about it. What I was thinking was that it would be really comforting if I thought the government would spend it wisely and only spend it once instead of the usual impossible conglomeration of strange budget items and hugely larger spending than their income will cover. You and I can’t spend more than we have without getting into huge trouble, both financially and legally, so I was dreaming of a day when our government lived by the same laws that we do.
And then I had a better thought than my grumpy “why can’t they just get sensible” question; I thought about why I was disappointed in giving my money to the government and happy to give it in other ways and it occurred to me that the difference was in what I saw happening because of my giving – plus I don’t think paying taxes counts as giving because it isn’t optional. I pay my taxes because I must, but I give because I can and I value the goal and cause I give to.
Don’t you do it that way? I would bet you do. And thinking about giving this way reminds me of Scriptures that talk about working so we can help those in need, that talk about sharing with others, verses that describe how God gives so much to us, and that we can honor his love and grace by giving to others. I am thinking specifically about the verse to the Corinthian church in which Paul tells us that God loves a cheerful giver; and that alone ensures that paying taxes isn’t giving.
I was meeting with a group from Plateau Outreach Ministries and we were talking about how this ministry has grown during the seven years I have been on the board and how we have been greatly blessed by the people and churches and leaders of the Enumclaw-Buckley area we serve. It has been really amazing to watch it grow and a little sad to observe that times have gotten very hard for a lot of people, which is the primary reason behind this growth of services and budget. But this community has answered the need so strongly and well, it is really remarkable.
I’ve lived all over this country and overseas and this is a truly unique place. Thank you! And also a thought to consider, that on May 6 the Seattle Foundation holds its annual Give Big online donation event, and POM is on the list of charities to receive proportional augmentation of what is given that day online to POM. That means whatever we give is increase by a percentage funded by the Seattle Foundation (And POM is not the only Plateau organization involved, so check it out, seattlefoundation.org). We have committed this special fundraising effort to the capital fund of POM so all regular donations continue to go to our services.
So if you are feeling the need to remove the bitter taste of taxation from your mouth, try a little voluntary giving – it does taste much better. And it does a lot more good. May 6, online through the website seattlefoundation.org. Every dollar counts. Every dollar helps. And if you don’t do computers well, stop by POM and we will help.