I. ACID TEST OF GIVING
A. TEST OF FAITH
What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself (James 2:14-17).
B. TEST OF LOVE OF GOD ABIDING IN US
But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17).
C. TEST OF LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR
I am not speaking this [a promised gift] as a command, but as proving . . . the sincerity of your love also (2 Corinthians 8:8).
1. Example of Good Samaritan
But a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you’ (Luke 10:33-35).
D. TEST OF LORDSHIP
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property (Matthew 19:21-22).
Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property (Mark 10:21-22)
And when Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22-23).
II. ATTITUDES IN GIVING
A. GOD’S ATTITUDE (THE LOVING GIVER)
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son . . . (John 3:16).
God is love . . . (1 John 4:16).
Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights . . . (James 1:17).
B. OUR ATTITUDE
1. The proper attitude
a. Given in love
If I give all my possessions to feed the poor . . . but do not have love, it profits me nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3).
b. Given cheerfully
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
2. How we give with love
a. Give to God as expression of worship and love
Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me . . . (Exodus 25:2).
When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give . . . a contribution to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the Lord (Exodus 30:12-14).
Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the Lord’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze (Exodus 35:5).
Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution . . . so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the Lord . . . all the men and women . . . brought a freewill offering to the Lord (Exodus 35:21-29).
And of this he shall present one of every offering as a contribution to the Lord . . . (Leviticus 7:14).
Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, “Now behold, I Myself have given you charge of My offerings . . . which they shall render to Me . . . the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to the Lord . . . first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the Lord . . . the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the Lord . . . the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the Lord (Numbers 18:8-24).
And many were bringing gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem and choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter (2 Chronicles 32:23).
King David also dedicated these to the Lord with the silver and the gold, which he had carried away from all the nations (1 Chronicles 18:11).
King David also dedicated these to the Lord, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated from all the nations which he had subdued (2 Samuel 8:11).
Pay your vows to the Most High . . . (Psalm 50:14).
I shall come into Your house with burnt offerings; I shall pay You my vows . . . (Psalm 66:13).
Because of Your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring gifts to You (Psalm 68:29).
. . . all who are around Him bring gifts to Him who is to be feared (Psalm 76:11).
For on My holy mountain . . . I shall seek your contributions and the choicest of your gifts . . .
. . . devote to the Lord their unjust gain and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth (Micah 4:13).
1) All we possess is from the Lord and we are giving back to Him
But who am I [David] and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You . . . all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours (1 Chronicles 29:14-16).
2) Example of the Christ Child
And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshipped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:1).
3) Example of not giving to the Lord
You [Israel] have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings; nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices . . . You have bought Me no sweet cane with money, neither have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices (Isaiah 43:23-24).
3. How we should give cheerfully
a. Submit to Lord and offer willingly
Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” Then the rulers of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king’s work, offered willingly . . . the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly (1 Chronicles 29:5-9).
Since I [David] know, O my God, that Thou tries the heart and delights in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to You (1 Chronicles 29:14-17).
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord, begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
4. Attitude more important than the amount given
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others (Matthew 23:23).
But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others” (Luke 11:42).
Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, “God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people . . . I pay tithes of all that I get. But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14).
a. Example of giving with the proper attitude and Lord accepting gift
And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering (Genesis 4:4).
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks (Hebrews 11:4).
But I have received everything in full . . . having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God (Philippians 4:18).
b. Example of giving with wrong attitude and Lord rejecting gift
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground . . . but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard (Genesis 4:3-5).
Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days. Offer a thank offering also from that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, make them known, for so you love to do, you sons of Israel,” declares the Lord God . . . Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord (Amos 4:4-6).
Even though you [Israel] offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; and I will not even look at the peace offerings . . . But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:22, 24).
“Did you present Me with sacrifices and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel? You also carried along . . . your gods which you made for yourselves. Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord . . . (Amos 5:25-27).
. . . you cover the altar of the Lord with tears . . . because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant (Malachi 2:13-14).
1) Lying to Holy Spirit
But a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.” And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon all who heard of it. And the young men arose and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they shall carry you out as well.” And she fell immediately at his feet and breathed her last . . . (Acts 5:1-10).
2) To justify sin
I [an adulteress] was due to offer peace offerings; today I have paid my vows (Proverbs 7:14).
III. ADVANTAGES OF GIVING
A. BENEFITS FOR THE GIVER
Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)
1. Increase in intimacy with Lord
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21).
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12:34).
2. Increase in heaven
lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . (Matthew 6:20).
. . . go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasures in heaven . . .(Matthew 19:21).
Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses, which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven . . . (Luke 12:33).
. . . sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven . . . (Luke 18:22).
Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increased to your account
Instruct those who are rich . . . to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future . . . (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
3. Increase on earth
At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town . . . in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
. . . Since the contributions began to be brought into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat with plenty left over, for the Lord has blessed His people, and this great quantity is left over (2 Chronicles 31:10).
Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine (Proverbs 3:9-10).
There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered (Proverbs 11:24-25).
Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days (Ecclesiastes 11:1).
Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return (Luke 6:38).
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully . . . God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness abides forever.” Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality . . . (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).
[Because of a gift] my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
a. Challenge to test God for material increase
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more needs (Malachi 3:10).
4. Increase in various blessings
. . . give to the priest the first of your dough to cause a blessing to rest on your house (Ezekiel 44:30).
And a certain centurion’s slave . . . was sick and about to die. And when he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. When they had come to Jesus, they earnestly entreated him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this . . . it was he who built us our synagogue” [Jesus healed the slave] (Luke 7:2-5).
In Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha; this woman was abounding in deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did. And it came about at that time that she fell sick and died . . . [Peter] prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up (Acts 9:36-37, 40).
Cornelius . . . gave many alms . . . saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in to him, and said to him, “Cornelius!” And fixing his gaze upon him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God . . . Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. [Cornelius received the Holy Spirit] (Acts 10:1-4, 31)
IV. AMOUNT TO GIVE
1. Before the law
[Abram] gave him [Melchizedek] a tenth of all (Genesis 14:20).
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey . . . all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You” (Genesis 28:20-22).
2. Under the law
Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord . . . every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30-32).
a. Not tithing properly considered robbing God
Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! (Malachi 3:8-9)
b. How the tithe was used
1) Eaten in presence of Lord
You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. And you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the first-born of your herd and your flock, in order that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. And if the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where the Lord your God chooses to set His name is too far away from you when the Lord your God blesses you, then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. And you may spend the money for whatever your heart desires, for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household (Deuteronomy 14:22-26).
2) Given to support Levites and poor
to the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting . . . the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites (Numbers 18:21-24).
At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns, and be satisfied (Deuteronomy 26:12).
Also he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the law of the Lord. And as soon as the order spread, the sons of Israel . . . brought in abundantly the tithe of all. And the sons of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah, also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of sacred gifts which were consecrated to the Lord their God . . . Since the contributions began to be brought into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat with plenty left over, for the Lord has blessed His people, and this great quantity is left over . . . they faithfully brought in the contributions and the tithes (2 Chronicles 31:4-12).
We will also bring . . . the tithe of our ground to the Levites, for the Levites are they who receive the tithes in all the rural towns. And the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes . . . (Nehemiah 10:37-38).
I also discovered that the portions of the Levites had not been given them, so that the Levites and the singers who performed the service had gone away, each to his own field. So I reprimanded the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” (Nehemiah 13:10-11).
a) Levites were to tithe from their tithe
Moreover, you shall speak to the Levites and say to them, ‘When you take from the sons of Israel the tithe . . . then you shall present an offering from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe (Numbers 18:26).
3. Tithe in the New Testament
a. Jesus condemns Pharisees (see II 4)
b. The superiority of priesthood of Melchizedek
Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils . . . observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham, and blessed the one who had the promises. But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. And in this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes (Hebrews 7:1-2, 4-9).
4. Storehouse tithe
Then Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them. And they faithfully brought in the contributions and the tithes . . . (2 Chronicles 31:11-12).
The Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the storehouse (Nehemiah 10:38).
On that day men were also appointed over the chambers for the stores, the contributions, the first fruits, and the tithes . . . (Nehemiah 12:44).
All Judah then brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses (Nehemiah 13:12).
B. OFFERINGS (see sections IV. B; VIII. K)
C. PROPORTIONATE GIVING (AS GOD PROSPERS)
Then you shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give just as the Lord your God blesses you . . . Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you (Deuteronomy 16:10, 16).
. . . each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made I come (1 Corinthians 16:2).
1. Example of proportionate giving
According to their ability they gave to the treasury for the work . . . (Ezra 2:69).
And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution . . . (Acts 11:29).
2. Acceptable amount given is in proportion to a person’s means
For if the readiness is present [to give], it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have (2 Corinthians 8:12).
D. SACRIFICIAL GIVING
He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:41-44).
He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a certain poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on” (Luke 21:1-4).
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord, begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).
1. Do not give something that costs you nothing
“Why has my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be held back from the people.” And Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer . . . the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing . . . (2 Samuel 24:21-24).
David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of this threshing floor, that I may build on it an altar to the Lord; for the full price you shall give it to me, that the plague may be restrained from the people.” And Ornan said to David, “Take it for yourself . . . David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing” (1 Chronicles 21:22-24).
2. Cursed when giving something stolen or blemished
But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? . . . With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts . . . you bring what was taken by robbery, and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?” says the Lord. “But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock, and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the Lord of hosts, “and My name is feared among the nations” (Malachi 1:6-14).
V. APPROACH TO GIVING
A. PATTERN FOR GIVING
You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God (Exodus 23:10-11).
The first offspring from every womb belongs to Me . . . the first offspring from cattle and sheep (Exodus 34:19).
You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God . . . (Exodus 34:26).
As an offering of first fruits, you shall bring them to the Lord . . . (Leviticus 2:12).
Also on the day of the first fruits, when you present a new grain offering to the Lord . . . (Numbers 28:26).
When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you . . . you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you shall bring [as a gift] in from your land (Deuteronomy 26:1-2).
Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce (Proverbs 3:9).
You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage . . . (Exodus 22:29).
When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you . . . (Deuteronomy 23:21).
When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it . . . (Ecclesiastes 5:4).
Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart [when contemplating a gift] . . . (2 Corinthians 9:7).
On the first day of every week [save for the gift] (1 Corinthians 16:2).
And none shall appear before Me empty-handed [without a gift] (Exodus 34:20).
Every man shall give . . . (Deuteronomy 16:17).
All the people of the land shall give to this offering . . . (Ezekiel 45:16).
. . . each of them determined to send a contribution . . . (Acts 11:29).
. . . let each one of you put aside and save [for the gift] (1 Corinthians 16:2).
6. Private deposit
. . . put aside and save [for giving] . . . (1 Corinthians 16:2).
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you (Matthew 6:1-4).
8. Prompted heart
. . . from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution (Exodus 25:2).
Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart . . . (Exodus 35:5).
Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution . . . all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought [gifts] . . . all the men and women, whose heart moved them . . . brought a freewill offering to the Lord (Exodus 35:21-29).
Then Jehoash said to the priests, “. . . the money which any man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the Lord (2 Kings 12:4).
B. POLICIES FOR GIVING
1. Administration and accountability
The Levites . . . had charge of the treasures of the house of God, and of the treasures of the dedicated gifts (1 Chronicles 26:20).
Shelomoth and his relatives had charge of all the treasures of the dedicated gifts . . . (1 Chronicles 26:26).
Kore . . . was over the freewill offerings of God, to apportion the contributions for the Lord and the most holy things. And under his authority were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah in the cities of the priests, to distribute faithfully their portions to their brothers by divisions, whether great or small (2 Chronicles 31:14-15).
On that day men were also appointed over the chambers for the stores, the contributions, the first fruits, and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions required by the law for the priests and Levites (Nehemiah 12:44).
And in charge of the storehouses I appointed Shelemiah the priest, Kadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites . . . for they were considered reliable, and it was their task to distribute to their kinsmen (Nehemiah 13:13).
And we have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches; and not only this, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our readiness, taking precaution that no one should discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men (2 Corinthians 8:18-21).
sending it [a gift] in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders (Acts 11:30).
And when I arrive, whomever you may approve, I shall send them with letters to carry gift to Jerusalem; and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me (1 Corinthians 16:3-4).
a. Examples of not requiring accountability
Moreover, they [the priests] did not require an accounting from the men into whose hand they gave the money to pay to those who did the work, for they dealt faithfully (2 Kings 12:15).
Only no accounting shall be made with them [temple workmen] for the money delivered into their hands, for they deal faithfully (2 Kings 22:7).
C. PLACES TO GIVE
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).
For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever shall say to his father or mother, “Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition (Matthew 15:4-6).
He was also saying to them, “You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, `He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, anything of mine you might have been helped by is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition . . . (Mark 7:9-13).
If any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family, and to make some return to their parents (1 Timothy 5:4).
If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, let her assist them, and let not the church be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed (1 Timothy 5:16).
c. Example of giving to family
I [Joseph] will provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, lest you and your household and all that you have be impoverished (Genesis 45:11).
And Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones (Genesis 47:12).
a. Individuals involved in ministry
1) Levitical priests (also see IV. A. 2. b. 2)
The remainder of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons . . . (Leviticus 2:3).
. . . [the offering] shall belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the peace offerings (Leviticus 7:14).
You shall give the right thigh to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifices of your peace offerings. The one among the sons of Aaron who offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat, the right thigh shall be his as his portion. For I have taken the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the contribution from the sons of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as their due forever . . . (Leviticus 7:32-34).
Take the grain offering that is left over from the Lord’s offerings by fire and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy. You (Aaron) shall eat it . . . because it is your due and your sons’ due out of the Lord’s offerings by fire; for thus I have been commanded. The breast of the wave offering . . . have been given as your due and your sons’ out of the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the sons of Israel (Leviticus 10:12-14).
. . . if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution which is made for the wrong must go to the Lord for the priest, besides the ram of atonement, by which atonement is made for him. Also every contribution pertaining to all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, which they offer to the priest, shall be his. So every man’s holy gifts shall be his; whatever any man gives to the priest, it becomes his (Numbers 5:8-10).
I Myself have given you [Aaron] charge of My offerings, even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, I have given them to you as a portion, and to your sons as a perpetual allotment . . . every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you. This also is yours, the offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment . . . the best of the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to the Lord, I give them to you. The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours . . . Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. Every first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours . . . the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment . . . (Numbers 18:8-19).
And levy a tax for the Lord from the men of war who went out to battle . . . take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest, as an offering to the Lord. And from the sons of Israel`s half . . . give them to the Levites who keep charge of the tabernacle of the Lord (Numbers 31:28-30).
Now this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, either an ox or a sheep, of which they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. You shall give him the first fruits or your grain, your new wine, and your oil, and the first shearing of your sheep (Deuteronomy 18:3-4).
You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing (Deuteronomy 25:4).
. . . bring the first fruits of all the fruit of every tree to the house of the Lord annually, and bring to the house of our God the first-born of our sons and of our cattle, and the first-born of our herds and our flocks as it is written in the law, for the priests who are ministering in the house of our God . . . (Nehemiah 10:35-36).
All Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah gave the portions due the singers and the gatekeepers as each day required, and set apart the consecrated portion for the Levites, and the Levites set apart the consecrated portion for the sons of Aaron (Nehemiah 12:47).
They [the priests] shall eat the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering; and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs. And the first of all first fruits of every kind and every contribution of every kind, from all your contributions, shall be for the priests; you shall also give to the priest the first of your dough (Ezekiel 44:29-30).
2) New Testament workers
Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support (Matthew 10:9-10).
[Jesus] instructed them [the disciples] that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belt (Mark 6:8).
He called the twelve together, and . . . said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece” (Luke 9:1-3).
The Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two and two . . . Carry no purse, no bag, no shoes . . . stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages (Luke 10:1, 4-7).
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches (Galatians 6:6).
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages” (1 Timothy 5:17-18).
Diligently help Zenas that lawyer and Apollos [with gifts] on their way so that nothing is lacking for them (Titus 3:13).
Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; and they bear witness to your love before the church; and you will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers with the truth (3 John 1:5-8).
a) Jesus supported by gifts during his earthly ministry
Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their [Jesus and the disciples] support out of their private means (Luke 8:3).
b) Christian workers who did not exercise their right to be supported
Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock? I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share with the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things that it may be done so in my case (1 Corinthians 9:6-15).
I [Paul] have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:17-18).
Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to serve you; and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia, they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so (2 Corinthians 11:7-9).
Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you . . . I have not taken advantage of you through any of those whom I have sent to you, have I? I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit and walk in the same steps? (2 Corinthians 12:14-18).
For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed – God is witness . . . you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God (1 Thessalonians 2:5, 9).
nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example
(2 Thessalonians 3:8-9).
i) Christian workers must not ministry with evil financial
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you . . . shepherd the flock of God among you . . . not for sordid gain, but with eagerness (1 Peter 5:1-2).
ii) Many attempt to get money while appearing religious
For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity . . . (2 Corinthians 2:17).
There are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers . . . teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain (Titus 1:10-11)
But false prophets also arose among the people (of Israel), just as there will be false teachers among you . . . and in their greed they will exploit you with false words . . . (2 Peter 2:1, 3).
iii) Disciples urged to prepare
He said to them, “When I sent you out without purse and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” And they said, “No, nothing.” And He said to them, “But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one (Luke 22:35-36).
b. The sanctuary and temple
1) The building of the sanctuary
And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze . . . let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them (Exodus 25:3-8).
a) Gave more than enough
And they received from Moses all the contributions which the sons of Israel had brought to perform the work in the construction of the sanctuary. And they still continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning . . . The people are bringing much more than enough for the construction work which the Lord commanded us to perform.” So Moses issued a command, and a proclamation was circulated throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary.” Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more. For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it (Exodus 36:3-7).
2) The building of the temple
“Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God the gold for the things of gold, and the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze . . . in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple, namely, 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the buildings; of gold for the things of gold, and of silver for the things of silver, that is, for all the work done by craftsmen. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” Then the rulers of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king’s work, offered willingly; and for the service for the house of God they gave 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, and 10,000 talents of silver, and 18,000 talents of brass, and 100,000 talents of iron. And whoever possessed precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord . . . (1 Chronicles 29:2-8).
a) The temple cost a great deal
They quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with cut stones (1 Kings 5:17).
3) The repair of the temple
Then Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the sacred things which is brought into the house of the Lord . . . shall repair the damages of the house wherever any damage may be found . . . Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid, and put it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the Lord; and the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money which was brought into house of the Lord. And when they saw that there was much money in the chest, the king’s scribe and the high priest came up and tied it in bags and counted the money which was found in the house of the Lord. And they gave the money which was weighed out into the hands of those who did the work . . . (2 Kings 12:4-11).
Go up to Hilkiah the high priest that he may count the money brought in to the house of the Lord which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people. And let them deliver it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord, and let them give it to the workmen who are in the house of the Lord to repair the damages of the house, to the carpenters and the builders and the masons and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the house (2 Kings 22:4-6).
Joash decided to restore the house of the Lord. And he gathered the priests and Levites, and he said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah, and collect money from all Israel to repair the house of your God . . . the king commanded, and they made a chest and set it outside by the gate of the house of the Lord. And they made a proclamation in Judah and Jerusalem to bring to the Lord the levy fixed by Moses the servant of God on Israel in the wilderness. And all the officers and all the people rejoiced and brought in their levies and dropped them into the chest until they had finished. And it came about whenever the chest was brought in to the king’s officer by the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, then the king’s scribe and the chief priest’s officer would come, empty the chest, take it, and return it to its place. Thus they did daily and collected much money. And the king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service of the house of the Lord; and they hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of the Lord, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of the Lord. So the workmen labored, and the repair work progressed in their hands, and they restored the house of God according to its specifications . . . (2 Chronicles 24:4-13).
[King Josiah ordered] repair the house of the Lord his God. And they came to Hilkiah the high priest and delivered the money that was brought into the house of God . . . into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the Lord, and the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord used it to restore and repair the house (2 Chronicles 34:8-11).
4) The rebuilding of the temple
[Israelites] offered willingly for the house of God to restore it on its foundation. According to their ability they gave to the treasury for the work 61,000 gold drachmas, and 5,000 silver minas, and 100 priestly garments (Ezra 2:68-69).
Let the cost [of the temple rebuilding] be paid from the royal treasury (Ezra 6:4).
I [Darius] issue a decree concerning what you are to do for these elders of Judah in the rebuilding of this house of God: the full cost is to be paid to these people from the royal treasury out of the taxes of the provinces beyond the River, and that without delay (Ezra 6:8).
5) Maintenance of the temple
We also placed ourselves under obligation to contribute yearly one third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God . . . we cast lots for the supply of wood among the priests, the Levites, and the people in order that they might bring it to the house of our God . . . we will not neglect the house of our God (Nehemiah 10:30-39).
3. Poor (see section VI)
4. Miscellaneous catagories
a. Those who ask for a gift
Give to him who asks of you . . . (Matthew 5:42).
Give to everyone who asks of you . . . (Luke 6:30).
b. All people—especially believers
So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith (Galatians 6:10).
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love . . . contributing to the needs of the saints (Romans 12:10, 13).
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will be heaping burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you (Proverbs 25:21, 22).
But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink . . . (Romans 12:20).
d. Do not give to a murderer
A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him (Proverbs 28:17).
VI. GIVING TO THE POOR
A. GOD’S COMMANDS AND PERSPECTIVE OF GIVING TO THE POOR
For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open you hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land’ (Deuteronomy 15:11).
He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him (Proverbs 14:31).
He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed (Proverbs 19:17).
Is this not the fast which I choose . . . divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him . . . give yourself to the hungry . . . (Isaiah 58:6-10).
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:49).
1. Old Testament
a. Provisions for the poor
1) Laws of harvesting and gleaning
You shall sow you land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat . . . do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove (Exodus 23:10-11).
Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy (Leviticus 19:9-10).
When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy (Leviticus 23:22).
When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow . . . When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow (Deuteronomy 24:19-21).
2) Forgiveness of debts (see DEBT Scriptures)
3) Unlimited liability of meeting needs
If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers . . . you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. Beware, lest there is a base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the Lord against you, and it will be a sin in you. You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him . . . (Deuteronomy 15:7-10).
4) Celebration of Purim
. . . [during Purim celebration] gifts to the poor (Ester 9:22).
5) Tithe (see IV. A 2 b 2)
6) Year of Jubilee
. . . consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property . . . (Leviticus 25:10).
b. Examples of giving to the poor
I [Job] delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. I put on righteousness . . . I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy (Job 29:12-16).
If I [Job] have kept the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the orphan has not shared it . . . if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or that the needy had no covering, if his loins have not thanked me, and if he had not been warmed with the fleece of my sheep, if I have lifted up my hand against the orphan, because I saw I had support in the gate, let my shoulder fall from the socket, and my arm be broken off at the elbow (Job 31:16-23).
1) Righteous leader
May he [righteous king] vindicate the afflicted of the people, save the children of the needy . . . he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, the afflicted also, and him who has no helper. He will have compassion of the poor and needy . . . (Psalm 72:4, 12-13).
2) Excellent wife
An excellent wife . . . extends her hand to the poor; and she stretches out her hands to the needy (Proverbs 31:10, 20).
2. New Testament
a. John the Baptist
The multitudes were questioning him [John the Baptist], saying, “Then what shall we do?” And he would answer and say to them, “Let the man who has two tunics share with him who has none; and let him who has food do likewise” (Luke 3:10-11).
1) Jesus identifies with poor
But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angles with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me, I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? And when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me (Matthew 25:31-45).
2) Jesus models giving to the poor
After the morsel, Satan then entered into him [Judas Iscariot]. Jesus therefore said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor (John 13:27-29).
c. Formerly dishonest to give to the poor
Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need (Ephesians 4:28).
d. Other examples
All those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them all, as anyone might have need (Acts 2:44-45).
[A prophet named Agabus] stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did (Acts 11:28-30).
In every thing I [Paul] showed you that working hard in this manner you must help the weak (Acts 20:35).
Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things (Romans 15:26-27).
They [Peter, James and John] asked us to remember the poor – the very thing I [Paul] also was eager to do (Galatians 2:10).
B. BLESSINGS AND CURSES
1. Blessings of giving to the poor
a. Blessing of knowing the Lord
“He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy . . . Is not that what it means to know Me?” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 22:16).
b. Blessing of life
“If a man . . . gives his bread to the hungry, and covers the naked with clothing . . . he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord God . . . [a son who] gives his bread to the hungry, and covers the naked with clothing . . . will surely live (Ezekiel 18:7, 9, 16-17).
c. Blessing on family
His descendants will be mighty on earth . . . [who] has given freely to the poor . . . (Psalm 112:2, 9).
d. Blessing of needs met
He who gives to the poor will never want . . . (Proverbs 28:27).
e. Blessing of health
How blessed is he who considers the helpless . . . The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed; in his illness, You restore him to health (Psalm 41:1-3).
f. Blessing of prayers answered and guidance
Is this not the fast which I choose . . . divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call and the Lord will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ . . . give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday. And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail (Isaiah 58:6-11).
g. Blessing of delivery and protection
How blessed is he who considers the helpless; the Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble. The Lord will protect him, and keep him alive (Psalm 41:1-2).
h. Blessing of honor
He has given freely to the poor . . . his horn will be exalted in honor (Psalm 112:9).
i. Blessing of wealth and blessings of work
You shall generously give to him [the poor], and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings (Deuteronomy 15:10).
When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands (Deuteronomy 24:19).
May he [righteous king will] save the children of the needy . . . he will deliver the needy when he cries for help . . . may the gold of Sheba be given to him . . . (Psalm 72:4, 12-15).
Wealth and riches are in his house . . . He has given freely to the poor (Psalm 112:3, 9).
He who gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his good deed (Proverbs 19:17).
He who increases his wealth by interest and usury, gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor (Proverbs 28:8).
[Nebuchadnezzar show] mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity (Daniel 4:27).
j. Blessing of spiritual fruitfulness
And let our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, that they may not be unfruitful (Titus 3:13-14).
k. Blessings in general
He who is generous will be blessed for he gives some of his food to the poor (Proverbs 22:9).
l. Blessings of happiness
. . . happy is he who is gracious to the poor (Proverbs 14:21).
2. Curses for those who do not give to the poor
a. Curse of unanswered prayer
He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered (Proverbs 21:13).
b. Curse of poverty
He who oppresses the poor to make much for himself . . . will only come to poverty (Proverbs 22:16).
c. Cursed in general
He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses (Proverbs 28:27).
C. MISCELLANEOUS ISSUES IN GIVING TO THE POOR
1. Correct attitude of compassion
Have I not wept for the one whose life is hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy? (Job 30:25).
2. Example of investigating the needs of the poor
I [Job] was a father to the needy, and I investigated the case which I did not know (Job 29:16).
3. Godly wrongly accused of not giving to the poor
Is not your [Job] wickedness great . . . the weary you have given no water to drink, and to the hungry you have withheld bread . . . You have sent widows away empty . . . (Job 22:5, 7, 9).
4. Example of giving glory to God instead of giving to the poor
A woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it upon His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they say this, and said, “Why this waste? For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. For the poor you have with you always; but you do not always have Me. For when she poured this perfume upon My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be spoken of in memory of her” (Matthew 26:6-13).
There came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For the poor you always have with you, and whenever you wish, you can do them good; but you do not always have Me” (Mark 14:3-7).
Mary therefore took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Jesus therefore said, “Let her alone, in order that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me” (John 12:3-8).
5. Care of widows commanded
A complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. And the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task (Acts 6:1-3).
This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress . . . (James 1:27).
6. Results of proper perspective of ownership: no poor
The congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them . . . there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles’ feet; and they would be distributed to each as any had need (Acts 4:32-33).
7. Because the poor have limited resources, provision for them to give less
But if he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring to the Lord his guilt offering for that in which he has sinned, two turtledoves or two young pigeons . . . if his means are insufficient for two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then for his offering for that which he has sinned, he shall bring the tenth of an ephah of fine flour . . . (Leviticus 5:7, 11).
When the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting, a one year old lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering . . . if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons (Leviticus 12:6,8)
But if he is poor, and his means are insufficient, then he is to take one male lamb for a guilt offering as a wave offering to make atonement for him, and one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, and a log of oil, and two turtledoves or two young pigeons which are within his means (Leviticus 14:21-22).
He shall then offer one of the turtledoves or young pigeons, which are within his means. He shall offer what he can afford . . . This is the law for him in whom there is an infection of leprosy, whose means are limited for his cleansing (Leviticus 14:30-32).
But if he is poorer than your valuation, then he shall be placed before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to the means of the one who vowed, the priest shall value him (Leviticus 27:8)
a. Jesus’ parents in this category
When the days for their [Mary and Joseph] purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought . . . a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:22-24).
b. During census rich and poor gave same amount
When you take a census of the sons of Israel . . . Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the Lord. The rich shall not pay more, and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel (Exodus 30:12-15).
8. Giving to the poor can be evidence of salvation
Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor . . . Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house (Luke 19:8-9).
VII. MISCELLANEOUS EXAMPLES OF GIVING (NOT TO GOD)
[Abraham’s servant] took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her [Rebekah] wrists weighing ten shekels in gold . . . The servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother (Genesis 24:22, 53).
Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh . . . the men took this present . . . and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph (Genesis 43:11-12, 15).
Then she [Queen of Sheba] gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, and a very great amount of spices and precious stones (2 Chronicles 9:8-9).
King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire which she requested . . . (2 Chronicles 9:12).
[Many were bringing] choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah . . . (2 Chronicles 31:23).
And many were bringing . . . choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalt in the sight of all nations thereafter (2 Chronicles 32:23).
And Josiah contributed to the lay people, to all who were present, flocks of lambs and kids, all for the Passover offerings, numbering 30,000 plus 3000 bulls; these were from the kings possessions. His officers also contributed a freewill offering to the people . . . (2 Chronicles 35:7-9).
Let the men of that place support him [Israelites returning to Jerusalem] with silver and gold, with goods . . . all those about them encouraged them with articles of silver, with gold, with goods, with cattle, and with valuables (Ezra 1:4, 6).
And some of the heads of father’s households gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury . . . and some of the heads of father’s households gave into the treasury of the work . . . the rest of the people gave . . . (Nehemiah 7:70-72).
[King Ahasuerus] also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts according to the king’s bounty (Esther 2:18).
Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents [to the righteous king]; the kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts (Psalm 72:10).
The captain of the bodyguard gave him [Jeremiah] a ration and a gift (Jeremiah 40:5).
A. TO APPEASE PEOPLE
Then he selected from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau . . . I will appease him with the present that goes before me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me (Genesis 32:13, 20).
“What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” And he said, “To find favor in the sight of my lord . . . if now I have found favor in your sight, then take my present from my hand, for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably. “Please take my gift which has been brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have plenty . . . (Genesis 33:8-11).
A gift in secret subdues anger . . . (Proverbs 21:14).
B. TO INFLUENCE PEOPLE
Shechem also said to her father [Jacob] and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me. Ask ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage” (Genesis 34:11-12).
C. TO SEEK WISDOM
And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year (2 Chronicles 9:23-24).
And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and a very great amount of spices and precious stones. Never again did such abundance of spices come in as that which the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon (1 Kings 10:10).
D. WICKED CELEBRATE THE DEATH OF THE GODLY
Those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 11:10).
VIII. MISCELLANEOUS GIVING ISSUES
A. GEOGRAPHICAL PLACE TO GIVE
You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God . . . (Exodus 23:19).
You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God . . . (Exodus 34:26).
And there [the place which the Lord chooses] you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the first-born of your herd and of your flock (Deuteronomy 12:6).
the place which the Lord your God shall choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand . . . (Deuteronomy 12:11).
You are not allowed to eat within your gates the tithe of your grain, or new wine, or oil, or the first-born of your herd or flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the contribution of your hand. But you shall eat them before the Lord your God in the place which the Lord your God will choose . . . (Deuteronomy 12:17, 18).
B. WE MAY NOT HAVE MONEY TO GIVE, BUT WE CAN GIVE CHRIST
And a certain man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. And when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple; he began asking to receive alms. And Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!” (Acts 3:2-6).
C. A GENEROUS PERSON WILL HAVE MANY REQUESTS TO GIVE
Many will entreat the favor of a generous man, and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts (Proverbs 19:6).
D. GIVING CAN BE AFFECTED BY COVETEDNESS
So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, that the same might be ready as a bountiful gift, and not affected by covetousness (2 Corinthians 9:5).
E. GIVING RESULTS IN THANKSGIVING TO GOD
For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God (2 Corinthians 9:12).
F. DO NOT GIVE BEFORE ATTEMPTING RECONCILIATION WITH
AN ALIENATED BROTHER
If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering (Matthew 5:23, 24).
G. SCRIPTURE ENCOURAGES US TO GIVE
…Judah; pay your vows …(Nahum 1:15).
And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16).
H. GIVING CAN BE A TESTIMONY
And Jesus said to him, “. . . show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them” (Matthew 8:4).
He said to him [healed leper], “. . . show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a testimony to them” (Mark 1:44).
And He ordered him [healed leper], “. . . show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, for a testimony to them” (Luke 5:14).
I. EXAMPLE OF GIVING TO A NATION
[Paul] came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings (Acts 24:17).
J. THINGS BETTER THAN A SACRIFICE
1. Love of God and Neighbor
And to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices (Mark 12:33).
2. Loyalty and knowledge of God
For I [the Lord] delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6).
Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22).
“What are your [rebellious people] multiplied sacrifices to Me?” says the Lord. “I have enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle . . . (Isaiah 1:11).
To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord rather than sacrifice (Proverbs 21:3).
And at the festivals and the appointed feasts the grain offering shall be an ephah with a bull and an ephah with a ram, and with the lambs as much as one is able to give, and a hin of oil with an ephah . . . you shall provide a lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering to the Lord daily; morning by morning you shall provide it. Also you shall provide . . . a grain offering to the Lord continually by perpetual ordinance. Thus they shall provide the lamb, the grain offering, and the oil, morning by morning, for a continual burnt offering (Ezekiel 46:11-15).
And when the prince provides a freewill offering, a burnt offering, or peace offering as a freewill offering to the Lord (Ezekiel 46:12).
3. Examples of offerings given
Now the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifice before the Lord. And Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the Lord, 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the sons of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord. On the same day . . . he offered the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat of the peace offerings; for the bronze altar that was before the Lord was too small to hold the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat of the peace offerings (1 Kings 8:62-64).
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia . . . every survivor, at whatever place he may live, let the men of that place support him with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem . . . all those about them encouraged them with articles of silver, with gold, with goods, with cattle, and with valuables, aside from all that was given as a freewill offering (Ezra 1:2, 4, 6).
. . . bring the silver and gold, which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel . . . with all the silver and gold which you shall find in the whole province of Babylon . . . the rest of the needs for the house of your God, for which you may have occasion to provide, provide for it from the royal treasury. And I, even I King Artaxerxes, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the provinces beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven , may require of you, it shall be done diligently, even up to 100 talents of silver, 100 kors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt as needed (Ezra 7:15-18, 20-22).
L. IF YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT IS GIVING, THEN EXERCISE IT
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly . . . he who gives, with liberality . . . (Romans 12:6-8).
M. GIVE TO MEET BASIC NEEDS
He who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat (Exodus 16:18).
For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality – at this present time your abundance being a supply for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want, that there may be equality; as it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15).