Hints on Giving

How many of us set aside a portion of our income specifically for the poor? It is a command that they should not go unnoticed. As Paul says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Gal 6:10).” There have always been members of the house who have needed assistance. Paul asked the Ephesians to support the weak and “remember the words of the Lord Jesus (Acts 20;25).” One of the elements of the truth is sacrifice, putting others ahead of self. This can be a financial consideration as well as an ethical one. If we continue looking at the apostle Paul as our example, there are many lessons to be learned on the subject of alms-giving.

He told the Corinthians when he was in need while he was with them, what was needed was supplied by those visiting from Macedonia (2 Cor11:9). He did not want to be a burden to the Corinthians. He only accepted help when it was done with the true Christ-like spirit. He also had strong thoughts on helping those who were indolently dependent on the brethren for assistance. In his letter to the Thessalonians he mentions some who were “working not at all” (2 Thes 3:11). This was enough of a problem that while he was with the Thessalonians he gave the command, “If any would not work, neither should they eat“ (3:10).

We can see from his examples that Paul was wise and careful with what he gave and received. Circumstances made a difference in his discernment of obligation. It was not wholesale giving, but according to the fitness of the case at hand. While it is our duty to give support to the poor and needy, it must be done in consideration of truly helping. We cannot ignore the necessities of our brethren. We must be “Wise as serpents, harmless as doves” (Mat 10:16), in addition, while “bearing one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2), doing well to all men as we have opportunity.

Bro Moses Kassim (Kibewesi, Kenya)

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