Compassin Fatigue

Compassin Fatigue

It’s that time of the year, again! The mailbox is full of calendars from a plethora of entities including, but not limited to, charities, insurance companies, non-profits and people I’ve never heard of before. Catalogues are numerous and useless as a swarm of stink bugs and almost as hard to dispose of as are the bugs. Right behind them are the requests for support, envelopes with envelopes for the purpose of sending a few dollars to help the important work of dozens of agencies, national charities, local charities, and educational institutions. I can feel it coming on…compassion fatigue. Even if I shed tears with each successive request and their heart-breaking stories, I do not have the dollars in the bank to support them all, not even a portion. I would like to buy gifts for everyone I know, but, again, I do not have the dollars to make that a reality. I imagine you experience similar feelings as the stress and pressures of the “Holiday Season” mount. And, no, I don’t have any answers, except to suggest picking one or two places to give this year and a different one or two next year, etc. Another way might be to sit down and make of list of all the requests and rank them in importance to you, then choose how many you can realistically support starting at the top of the list. Alternative giving is a way to give to others as well as providing a meaningful gift to friends and loved ones. Donate in their name(s) making it a double gift.

Over the years, it has been suggested that we consider alternative gifting through the various charities that the church supports throughout the year. Those include places like Heifer International, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Jeffersontown Area Ministries, the Center for Women and Families, the Society of St. Andrew (gleaners), the House of Ruth, and of course Jeffersontown Christian Church! As the year comes to close, please be sure your giving for the year is up to date and consider making an extra gift to help meet our budgeted expenses.

As a pastor, I am somewhat concerned about the possibility that Congress will enact tax reforms which will affect the future of charitable giving across the board, including the church. I believe many of us will continue to give according to our ability and our faith commitment. But I am concerned that the loss of certain deductions for individual itemizers will result in taking a standard deduction without itemizing. This could result in some people not reflecting of their charitable giving since it does not benefit their tax liabilities. In addition, the potential loss of local and state taxes as deductions could make personal and family budgets that much tighter.

There is much to consider as we seek to be faithful stewards of our resources: giving meaningful gifts, supporting charitable groups, supporting our church and doing it all with a sense of joy and not guilt. My prayers are with us all.