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Giving

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  • Giving

    The members of the church in Jerusalem were generous in helping members who were in need.
    There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
    (Acts 4:34-35 ESV)

    In doing this they were following the command of Jesus to lay up treasures in Heaven. But what would have happened if they had decided to keep their possessions for their own use? Shortly after this a severe persecution broke out.
    And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
    (Acts 8:1 ESV)

    If they had kept their lands and houses they would have had to leave them behind when they were forced to flee persecution. They would have had neither their property nor any heavenly treasure.

    A missionary named Jim Elliot once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." If God has given you material wealth there is one thing you can be sure of; you will not own it forever. You might have unexpected expenses that will for you to spend it. It might be taken away by fraud. If you manage to keep it for your whole life you will have to leave it behind when you die. The only way to keep it forever is to use it to advance the work of the kingdom of God and so replace it with a heavenly treasure that you can keep forever.
    Clyde Herrin's Blog

  • #2
    That's all true, but not very helpful.

    Christians should pay careful attention to whom the church helped and to whom the Bible says to help (e.g. older and blameless widows who volunteer for the church and have no family support). Churches aren't charities and Christians are to be good stewards.

    In America, the poor, all poor, can get SNAP (food stamps). All disabled (of which there's ten moochers for every truly disabled) get Social Security Disability payments. All poor with children get very generous government benefits. Fundraising charities spend 90% of what you give them on themselves. Many fundraising charities are also raising money for causes that already have obscene amounts of money thrown at them by the government.

    Be in a good church and give to your church, first and foremost. Give directly to people you personally know who are in great need. Give directly to local groups that are doing things you support. And, don't pay people to stand on street corners with signs begging for money.

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    • #3
      Wasn't it so in one occasion that when the welfare of widows was taken care of, did the amount of believers encrease right away?
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      • #4
        Giving to churches to make preachers wealthy isn't laying treasures up for yourself in heaven. In fact as most people give so they can get blessings from God [call it buying blessings], they shouldn't expect to get anything from God, if they are giving solely so they can be blessed. If we are to give money then it should be given to missionaries who are out there preaching the gospel to those who haven't heard it. Such are the people who need our help.
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        • #5
          As Catholics, we were raised in the virtue of generosity that giving is better than receiving. When I was younger, I never missed giving alms to beggars by the churchyard. But when I became an adult, I saw the opportunism around us which made me realize that giving is not a general act - we should be selective in giving, know the good reason why we should give. In an interview of a blind beggar, he admitted that he is earning more than the minimum wage so he refuses to join the handicraft project of the government. To that blind beggar, begging is a far greater opportunity than working and being productive in a sense.
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          • #6
            I was also raised Catholic, and though my parents never let on how rich we really were, I've come to learn (now that I have my own children) just how much my parents had and were able to provide for me my entire life. The one financial lesson my dad taught, and still adamantly teaches is this: "Pay God first, yourself second, others third."

            He always tithed, to whatever church we belonged to. He always tithed a minimum of 10% off the top. And we switched from Catholicism to a protestant church sometime when I was in HS. But my family has always been financially blessed.

            So even in my driest seasons of life (newly married, have lots of young children, new jobs, changing careers), my husband and I are faithful to tithe on whatever we have been given. We've even tithed on gifts! And though I don't consider us "rich" currently, we've never been in need. We've had financial downtimes, but somehow our bills continue to get paid, we do not live in debt, and we have more than we could ever ask for.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Corzhens View Post
              As Catholics, we were raised in the virtue of generosity that giving is better than receiving. When I was younger, I never missed giving alms to beggars by the churchyard. But when I became an adult, I saw the opportunism around us which made me realize that giving is not a general act - we should be selective in giving, know the good reason why we should give. In an interview of a blind beggar, he admitted that he is earning more than the minimum wage so he refuses to join the handicraft project of the government. To that blind beggar, begging is a far greater opportunity than working and being productive in a sense.
              Isn't the act of giving still a positive thing even if the recipient is cheating?
              If you've done it in good faith, the recipient is the one that should be worried about judgment.
              I don't know if I would be selective as they must need the money if they're after it, and I just feel bad if I ignore someone who looks in need. I'm probably the type of person these guys wish for!
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              • #8
                This seems to be one of the age old arguments, when it comes to church and donations, as in the past, I think it's easy to look at a collection plate, then look and see that your priest/pastor/minister (delete as appropriate) is wearing Armani suits and driving round in a range rover while the parishioners have holes in their shoes, and waiting for the bus in the rain, and questions are going to get asked.

                Giving is a part of religion and its a way of giving something to God out of your own life, but there are times when people need to have a bit of common sense and maybe ignore that collection plate, and give in other ways.

                You don't have to give in monetary terms, but you can give your time up, or offer a service to the church instead. When people talk about giving, dollars shouldn't be the first thing that they think about.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cornelius View Post
                  That's all true, but not very helpful.

                  Christians should pay careful attention to whom the church helped and to whom the Bible says to help (e.g. older and blameless widows who volunteer for the church and have no family support). Churches aren't charities and Christians are to be good stewards.

                  In America, the poor, all poor, can get SNAP (food stamps). All disabled (of which there's ten moochers for every truly disabled) get Social Security Disability payments. All poor with children get very generous government benefits. Fundraising charities spend 90% of what you give them on themselves. Many fundraising charities are also raising money for causes that already have obscene amounts of money thrown at them by the government.

                  Be in a good church and give to your church, first and foremost. Give directly to people you personally know who are in great need. Give directly to local groups that are doing things you support. And, don't pay people to stand on street corners with signs begging for money.
                  I only tithe to churches that give most of their money to projects that either help the poor or use it to spread the faith. My last church did the food bank ever other weekend, was always helping someone out like the military or other regional projects, and building schools and churches in Asia, Africa, and South America. A third of the money went into the church except when the pipes bursted and flooded the place, but that was understandable. I disagree that the Church isn't a charity, it's supposed to be one of the biggest ones. It's because the Church is viewed as a charity that it isn't taxed for the tithing money it gets. If it using the money for charity, then it should be taxed like a business, considering how many of them are run like one.

                  As for America, you've never been poor. Yes, there are scammer on the Welfare system, and they probably outnumber the ones who actually need it. But you're forgetting the working poor. The ones who work two to three jobs and don't qualify for help but don't make enough to actually survive. Those people who are always forgotten sometimes need help that only the Church is willing of offer them. Many fundraising charities only give a tiny percentage for the projects they actually say they support. The rest of the money is disappearing to the charity and never really leaves. But yes, they do exist.
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                  • #10
                    In the O.T. the tithe was clearly spelled out as to percentage and to whom it was to be given - namely, 10% to the temple for the support of the priesthood who had no inheritance in the Land - for the Lord was their inheritance.

                    In the N.T. I don't personally see that specific restriction as to either 10% or only to the local church. Rather I find passages like the following which leave the percentage and the recipient of the gift up to the giver being led by the Spirit of God and his conscience.
                    For example:

                    1 Cor. 16:2 KJV "On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come."

                    2 Cor. 9:6-8 KJV "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."

                    2 Cor. 8:3-5 KJV "For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging 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."
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