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Scriptural Basis for Charitable Giving – Part 2

Proverbs 3:27-28, Give as soon as you are able.
Mark 12:41-44, Give whatever you are able...
Luke 11:39-41, ... and the remainder will be a blessing.
John 3:16, God gave his son.
Matthew 2:11, Christmas giving started early.
Genesis 2:7, 19; Deuteronomy 25:4; Luke 12:6, Animals are people, too.
Job 29:1, 11-13, People admire you for helping others...
Proverbs 28:27, ... which is lots better than the alternative.
Acts 10:1-4, Both prayer and almsgiving please God.
Acts 20:35, It is more blessed to give than to receive...
James 2:14-17, 26, ... but alms bless both giver and receiver...
2 Corinthians 8:1-4, 10-14, ... and someday you may need help.
Luke 6:30-36, Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.
1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8, 16, Charity really does begin at home.
Matthew 25:34-40, Service to people is service to Christ.
3 John 1:5-8, Particularly support Christ’s workers.
Proverbs 19:17, Giving is a loan to God; he always repays.
Isaiah 58:5-12, God’s light shines on those who give alms.
Mark 12:28-31, Bottom line: Love God and your neighbor.

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Proverbs 3:27-28, Give as soon as you are able. (12/22/15)

Do good today; tomorrow you may not have the opportunity.


Mark 12:41-44, Give whatever you are able... (12/23/15)

It isn't how much you give that counts; it's how much you give in relation to what you have. Jesus doesn't criticize those who give out of their surplus, but he sure admires the lady who gives out of her tiny savings!


Luke 11:39-41, ... and the remainder will be a blessing. (12/24/15)

I never noticed before that one of the things Jesus harassed the Pharisees about was almsgiving. The Pharisees were scrupulous in religious practice, and they certainly thought of themselves as "clean," or ritually acceptable. Jesus maintains that generosity to the poor will make them thoroughly clean.


John 3:16, God gave his son. (12/25/15)

The fact is, we're all poor and needy – poor in righteousness and needing salvation. God is the greatest giver to the poor. Merry Christmas!


Matthew 2:11, Christmas giving started early. (12/28/15)

I like to give presents to people, so it's a comfort to know that I'm in good company.

Genesis 2:7, 19; Deuteronomy 25:4; Luke 12:6, Animals are people, too. (12/29/15)

I am especially mellow during Christmas, which lasts 12 days – that is, I am mellow once all the decorating, shopping, mailing, opening, and cooking is done, which it is. If I weren't so mellow, I would take time to be irritated that most translations render nephesh chayah/living creature differently for human beings and animals. God thinks you are unique and special, but as near as I can tell, I personally am no more unique and special than my cat.

So in my opinion, if you choose to devote a portion of your charitable giving to the welfare of our fellow nephesh chayah who happen to be animals, I believe God will smile on that.
Job 29:1, 11-13, People admire you for helping others... (12/30/15)

I saw in the paper that a local philanthropist has died. He was successful in business all his life, but most likely it's his philanthropic efforts that will be longest remembered.


Proverbs 28:27, ... which is lots better than the alternative. (12/31/15)

Yesterday's scripture from Job tells us that those who are generous to the poor are praised. Proverbs, which you remember tend to be observations of life, notes that the opposite is true as well.


Acts 10:1-4, Both prayer and almsgiving please God. (1/1/16)

The Roman centurion was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but his prayers and gifts to the poor made him worthy of a visit from an angel!


Acts 20:35, It is more blessed to give than to receive... (1/4/16)

This verse is part of a farewell speech by Paul to the leaders of the church at Ephesus. The saying of Jesus that it's more blessed to give than to receive is not recorded elsewhere, so apparently Luke thought it fit here better than in his Gospel. It's certainly true! Wouldn't you rather have to means to be giving alms than the poverty to be receiving them?


James 2:14-17, 26, ... but alms bless both giver and receiver... (1/5/16)

One of the blessings of giving is that it gives life to your faith. My Greek teacher was adamant that vs. 14 must be read in the light of vs. 26. What provides life to the body? The spirit. What provides life to the faith? Works.

By the way, I gather that people don't want to hear this, since I had to look at several translations before finding two that accurately reflect the Greek: the King James and its modern offspring, the Modern King James Version. I'm sure there must be other modern translation that do also, but none that I had handy.


2 Corinthians 8:1-4, 10-14, ... and someday you may need help. (1/6/16)

People never change, sad to say. What was true in Paul's time is still true today, as the wealthy tend to give a smaller proportion of their incomes to charity than do the middle class and poor, according to (among others) Forbes . I'm not here to bash the wealthy – since I have a roof and a computer, I am among the wealthy. Nevertheless, we should take Paul's comments to heart. Part of his encouragement to give while we are wealthy is that our situation could change, and then we would be hoping that someone would give us a hand!

I will say, though, that Paul stops preachin' and goes to meddlin' when he also wants me to stop procrastinating and finish what I start!


Luke 6:30-36, Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. (1/7/16)

Yesterday I gave you a link to some statistics on who gives how much, and in this passage Jesus addresses a closely related issue: is it possible to tell believers from unbelievers on the basis of their giving? It should be, he says!

The link I gave you doesn't have a hundred follow-up comments from the pro, the anti, and the confused, but I did read most of one such site. One fellow, I thought, had a point; I'm not sure whether it was a good point or a bad point, but it certainly was a point. His point (made several times) was that contributions to churches and synagogues shouldn't count as "charity," because a lot of the money goes to pay staff and support programs.

Now, on the one hand, this led me to wonder what charities he knows about that don't pay their staff or have a program, and besides, I know that most churches and synagogues allocate a portion of the budget outside their own walls.* But on the other hand, he's right: God doesn't count your tithe as charity either! Your giving to the poor, hungry, homeless, etc., is supposed to be in addition to your tithe. So it's important to remember that God and the IRS have different ideas about what constitutes "charitable giving."

* In fact, every penny you donate to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, for example, for a designated project goes to relief – the United Methodist Church totally underwrites the administration of UMCOR. So that's one counter-example to his point. But some "charities" spend all of your donation on administration. Check here before you send your check.


1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8, 16, Charity really does begin at home. (1/8/16)

You've heard that "Charity begins at home." True. Many years ago, I read a column by a lady economist whose name I have forgotten. She questioned the motives of people who objected to the provision that you must use up most of your own assets before you are eligible for Medicaid. "That's my inheritance!" they say of their parents' assets. Her response was, "Why should you pay taxes to support my mother so that I can inherit more of her money?"

Paul says the same thing. If a widow truly has no family, then the church should step in. But just as it was your parents' obligation to support you when you were a child, it is your obligation to support them once they (usually your mom) can no longer support themselves.

John Wesley – who is well-known for his constant attendance on the needs of the poor – says the same thing about supporting your family first, in Sections III 3 & 4 of Sermon 50 .


Matthew 25:34-40, Service to people is service to Christ. (1/11/16)

This is our last week on the scriptural basis for charitable giving, so I want to make some overall observations. First, I learned a lot; thanks for expecting me to send this out every day.

Second, as we see especially in today's reading, God is very focused in his expectations about our charitable contributions. We are to give to the poor, the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the sick, and the imprisoned. (We also saw two verses about animal welfare.) We aren't forbidden to donate to our colleges, our political parties, the arts, conservation, our historical societies, etc., but that doesn't count, in God's eyes, as charity.

3 John 1:5-8, Particularly support Christ’s workers. (1/12/16)

Another overall observation is that our tithes and our charitable contributions are two separate items in God's budget. Now, I'm sure you have heard it said (as I have) that the New Testament doesn't teach tithing. Excuse me? Have they read Matthew 23:23, "You give a tenth of your mint, dill, and cummin, but have neglected the more important matters of the Law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the things you should have practiced, without neglecting the others"?

Justice, mercy, and faith are at the heart of Jesus' teaching, but he still expects us to tithe our mint, dill, and cummin, that is, our entire income. And then, over and above that and as a separate item, we are supposed to give to the poor, homeless, hungry, etc. And to top it all off, we have to support missionaries!

Don't shoot me; I'm just the messenger, and I'm just as surprised as you are.


Proverbs 19:17, Giving is a loan to God; he always repays. (1/13/16)

Another overall observation, epitomized by today's proverb, is that God cares enough about charity toward the poor that he rewards the giver with both tangible and intangible blessings in this life, as well as the life to come. This leads me to speculate that when Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," he was speaking literally.


Isaiah 58:5-12, God’s light shines on those who give alms. (1/14/16)

I'm not a football fan, but as I understand the situation from my husband, a multi-billionaire is moving his team because the city he's in won't use tax dollars to build the sports stadium he wants. My question to my husband was, "He's a multi-billionaire. After the first billion, you don't need any more money to live on, so why doesn't he build his own stadium?" I guess I just don't understand sports.

So my fourth overall observation is that, yes, charitable giving is on a sliding scale – you don't have to give what you don't have or what you need to support yourself or your family. Once we have anything at all left over, however, God expects us to share with the hungry, the homeless, and the naked. And, wow! when we do that, how great will be our reward!


Mark 12:28-31, Bottom line: Love God and your neighbor. (1/15/16)

Final observation about charitable giving: If you love God and love your neighbor, you'll never be in doubt about the right way or the right amount to give to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the naked.


More of The Scriptural Basis for Charitable Giving
The Scriptural Basis for Charitable Giving – Part 1

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