Deuteronomy 10:12-18, James 1:17, Never forget: God gave us what we have ... (11/30/15)
Soup, Soap, & Salvation –
The Scriptural Basis for Charitable Giving – Part 1
|Deuteronomy 10:12-18, James 1:17, Never forget: God gave us what we have ... |
|Leviticus 19:9-10, ... but not everything is ours to keep.|
|Psalms 112:5-9, The righteous gave to the poor then ...|
|2 Corinthians 9:8-11, ... and it’s still a good idea now.|
|Matthew 6:1-4, Don’t brag about your giving.|
|Mark 10:17-23, The rich must work harder at generosity...|
|Proverbs 11:24-25, ... but you get back what you give...|
|Luke 6:38, ... and even more...|
|Acts 3:1-8, 16, ... and some great gifts require no money.|
|Deuteronomy 15:7-11, Lend without much thought to return.|
|Proverbs 22:9, Those who share with the poor are blessed...|
|Matthew 10:40-42, ... even when the gift seems small.|
|Galatians 2:9-10, Remember the poor...|
|James 2:1-4, 8, ... and treat poor and rich the same way.|
|Leviticus 25:35-38, Provide housing as necessary.|
|Deuteronomy 16:16-17, Give as you are able.|
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We come to the time of year when the readings and study tips are shorter than usual because everyone is busier than usual. In addition, our mailboxes are fuller than usual with requests for money – mostly for good causes. What to do; what to do? We’ve already considered the questions of whether we must give to every organization that writes or calls (no, see Solicitations
) and whether the support of our own needy relatives counts (yes, although apparently I didn't post it).
This year we're looking at the scriptural basis for charitable giving. The first thing to remember is that everything we have is already a gift: from God.
Leviticus 19:9-10, ... but not everything is ours to keep. (12/1/15)
William Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army
along with his wife, Catherine, described the approach of their ministry as “first, soup; second, soap; and finally, salvation.” The Bible takes a very similar position. Everything we have is a gift from God, but not all that God has given us is ours to keep. Some of it must be passed along to the poor and homeless. One way to do this is to donate to one of the rock-solid organizations like the Salvation Army.
Psalms 112:5-9, The righteous gave to the poor then ... (12/2/15)
One sign of a righteous person is giving generously to the poor. Both man and God admire the righteous.
2 Corinthians 9:8-11, ... and it’s still a good idea now. (12/3/15)
Today's scripture from the New Testament quotes yesterday's scripture from the Old Testament and elaborates on the theme that everything that comes to us from God should be shared liberally.
Matthew 6:1-4, Don’t brag about your giving. (12/4/15)
Even though the righteous win admiration on this earth, that's not a reason to give to the poor. In fact, Jesus says that all of us should be careful not to brag, instead each should give quietly and even secretly.
Mark 10:17-23, The rich must work harder at generosity... (12/7/15)
Notice what Jesus doesn't say about wealth. He doesn't say all
rich people have to get rid of their possessions, only that for this
rich man, his possessions stood in the way of his relationship with Jesus, and he'd be better off to give everything away to the poor.
Jesus also doesn't say that no rich person can enter the kingdom of God, which I think is a common misunderstanding of this passage. He just says it's difficult
. The possessions themselves aren't evil, because otherwise there would be no good in giving them to the poor. It's our attitude toward possessions that can be evil. Woe, then, to us who are rich – and we all have computers, so I know we're rich. We need to work harder than the poor at making sure our priorities are right: Jesus first, everything else second.
Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 65: Mark 10:17-22, Christ and the Rich Young Ruler (8/31/15)
Proverbs 11:24-25, ... but you get back what you give... (12/8/15)
Wouldn’t you love to be able to say, “I’ve obeyed all of God’s rules since I was young”? Whether the rich young man had actually obeyed all the rules or not, we know he was sincere, because Jesus looked at him and loved him. Jesus then said something that troubles many of us: “Sell everything you have and come back to me.” It’s important that “you” is singular – he was talking to this man personally, who clearly had a money problem. The idea of parting with his possessions made him sad.
Well, it would make me sad, too, to be perfectly honest. The scripture doesn’t say he didn’t do it, only that it made him sad.
What I like about this painting of Christ and the Rich Young Ruler, by Heinrich Hofmann, is the look on the young man’s face: “Oh, bummer.” That look says to me that he was coming to terms with something he didn’t want to do. I’m with our former children’s director on this one; she thinks he went away sad because he was planning to sell off his stuff and come back.
Firefox loads the larger picture sideways. It's not my fault.
Previous Step. Next Step.
"Christ and the Rich Young Ruler" by Heinrich Hofmann,
from the Gamble family Bible,
now in the private collection of Regina Hunter.
My Greek teacher maintained that the proverbs are observations of the world around us, not predictions of the future. Have you noticed that the givers among us always seem to have plenty for themselves?
Luke 6:38, ... and even more... (12/9/15)
Jesus says that when you give, you will get even more back. I suspect this is more of an observation than a promise, but it certainly seems to hold true much of the time. Generous people get more out of life than stingy people.
Acts 3:1-8, 16, ... and some great gifts require no money. (12/10/15)
So far we've seen a lot of scriptural support for charitable gifts of food and cash to the poor. Some of the most important gifts – time, prayer, and the love of Jesus Christ – require no money at all.
Deuteronomy 15:7-11, Lend without much thought to return. (12/11/15)
Well, bad news for the hard-hearted. The Hebrew, the Greek, and the four English translations I looked at all have "command" in vs. 11. Generosity to the poor and needy is not optional. In vs. 9, the business about the seventh year is this. Every seventh year, any Jew who owed service to another Jew was freed from that debt (Deuteronomy 15:12). You aren't allowed to consider whether you're going to get one year or six years of labor out of the guy: he needs help, so help him.
Proverbs 22:9, Those who share with the poor are blessed... (12/14/15)
Matthew 10:40-42, ... even when the gift seems small. (12/15/15)
Even a small gift can be important.
Galatians 2:9-10, Remember the poor... (12/16/15)
The ancient Jewish tradition of relieving the poor in their affliction was adopted by Christians as soon as there were any Christians.
James 2:1-4, 8, ... and treat poor and rich the same way. (12/17/15)
If you love everyone the way you love yourself, you will automatically treat rich and poor alike.
Leviticus 25:35-38, Provide housing as necessary. (12/18/15)
The temperature is 29 degrees Fahrenheit, and I'm chilled after a five-minute drive. Providing shelter to the homeless is life-saving at this time of year, but it's important all year.
Deuteronomy 16:16-17, Give as you are able. (12/21/15)
Your gifts to God, and by extension your charitable giving, are on a sliding scale.
More of The Scriptural Basis for Charitable Giving
The Scriptural Basis for Charitable Giving – Part 2
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