Should Christians Give to The Poor?

 

Giving to the poor main | Bible verses on giving to the poor

Do Christians have a duty to help the poor? The Bible says yes.

Should Christians give money to the needy? Should Christians help the homeless?

 

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. – Proverbs 19:17.

The question of whether to give money to the person who approaches on the street is often debated among Christians. Is it wise to give money to panhandlers when we do not know what they will do with the money? Is it safe? Should Christians just focus their giving on church? These are all valid questions and the Bible has the answer: Christians should absolutely help the poor and those in need. Not only is it an expression of the love of Christ, it is pleasing to God and leads to more blessings for the giver.

Scriptures On Helping The Needy

If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. – Deuteronomy 15:7-11.

Helping the poor is such an integral part of Godly living that The Lord even put it into the Mosaic Law. Notice the law identifies where giving starts: in the heart. We are commanded not to “harden our hearts” towards the poor. Ignoring those in need, looking down on them, making stereotypical judgments about their lifestyle and other callous behaviors should not be in the heart of a Christian (and Beloved, if those feelings have been in your heart in the past, repent to God and pray or more compassion). In discussing the reign of the Godly, faithful King Josiah, The Lord said through the prophet Jeremiah: “He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 22:16. Giving, charity and compassion are a part of God’s nature and God’s children should reflect this.

Proverbs 31:9 states: “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Helping the poor should be a part of a Christian’s nature. Proverbs 29:7 says: “The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

These are just a sample of the many Old Testament verses that emphasize assisting those in need. At the same time the Book of Proverbs carries many warnings for those who neglect the poor:

 “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” – Proverbs 14:31.

“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.” – Proverbs 21:13.

He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse. –Proverbs 28:27.

The New Testament And Giving

Giving to the poor street photo |  Bible verses on helping the homeless

Giving to those most in need is a way of showing some of the love and compassion that God has shown us.

Jesus Christ regularly remembered the poor and taught His disciples to assist the needy:

Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. – Matthew 5:42.

In instructing the Disciples on not having concern for how they would survive day to day Jesus said: “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”Luke 12:33-34.

The Lord Jesus Christ also instructed on how to give:

Take heed that ye do not your alms [giving to the poor] before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6:1-4.

Giving to the poor should not be done for show or approval of others. Note that in these instructions, Jesus assumes that a Christian will be giving to the poor. It is expected that believers will help those in need.

Matthew 25 contains a prophetic passage regarding the Judgment of Nations right before the Millennial Reign of Christ. After Jesus’ Second Coming, when He returns to rule the Earth for 1,000 years, He judges the nations of the world. In describing this future event, Jesus said:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. – Matthew 25:31-40.

Jesus compared the treatment of Israelites in need in the end times to treatement of Himself personally. It should be no surprise that the Apostles of Jesus stressed giving as well.

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:16-18.

 

Arguments Against Giving

Homeless man ignored | Bible verses on giving to the poor

It can become very easy to ignore those in need.

“I don’t give money because I don’t want the person to use it for drugs or alcohol.”

While this may sound like a noble reason, it has several flaws. For one, it is often based on a pernicious stereotype that all homeless and needy people are drunken, drug abusers. If a person is intoxicated when asking for money (or if you know the person and thus know their intentions), then that is obviously a fair assessment. But assuming that the poor will use money for sinful and/or criminal purposes is judging based on appearance – the exact type of judgment that Jesus warns against. Nowhere in Scripture do we see any instruction to “investigate” what the person in need is going to do with the money they are given. We are just told to give. If this remains a legitimate concern an alternative would be to buy restaurant gift cards or food for the person in need.

“I get scared when a homeless person approaches me”

This is a very reasonable argument. This author lives in a major urban area where muggings are commonplace. If it seems too intimidating to give to homeless people on the street there are other ways to help those in need. Giving money to local homeless shelters, food banks or orphanages are great alternatives that still provide a chance to give money to those in need. Additionally, many churches do their own ministry to assist the poor in their areas, which gives a chance to go out in groups and remove concerns for safety.

“I don’t have a lot of money”

Another legitimate reason. As mentioned above, this is where working in a church ministry that assists the poor comes in handy. A ministry can provide an opportunity to give your time in helping the poor by distributing clothing and supplies or working a kitchen to feed those in need. Some churches do local missionary work, using ministry to build or repair homes, set up health care stations or provide numerous services to the poor.  So there are many ways to help those who need it the most without spending any money.

Share The Good News of Jesus Christ

Witnessing the Gospel to the homeless | Bible verses on helping the poor

At the London Olympics, some Christian ministries shared the Gospel with the homeless.

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: — Acts 3:1-9.

What a surprise for this crippled man who was asking for money. The Apostles Peter and John gave him something much better – healing in the name of Jesus Christ. Not only did this healed man go on to proclaim his faith in Jesus Christ, the miracle and the man’s testimony drew a crowd which gave Peter the opportunity to preach, bringing in 2,000 new people into the church! Giving to the poor provides an opportunity to share the Gospel. When giving money or food, why not also hand the person a Gospel tract or a Bible? It could also be an excellent opportunity to invite the person to church. Or just engage the person in conversation and tell them how to get to Heaven. It should be clear as the Apostles stated, that when you are giving, you are doing so in the name of Jesus Christ. Not only are you showing the love of Christ by helping someone, you are giving them the way to eternal riches and salvation. There is no greater expression of Christian love than sharing the good news of eternal life and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ.
Give To The Poor

Children in poverty | Bible verses on giving to the poor

There is no shortage of people in poverty who need help.

Throughout the Bible, charitable giving is encouraged, expected and applauded as a integral part of the life of a Christian believer. Jesus said the poor will “always be with us” providing a constant way for Christians to show love, compassion and charity. And maybe in that giving a soul can be led to faith in Christ and eternal life.

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.” – Psalm 41:1-2.

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Comments

  1. Yes, Giving is a Joy. It creates a bridge over troubled waters to someone who might not only see someone coming to their immediate assistance, but also the fact that the giver is sending them a message that some whom they do not know, loves them enough to share in their distress. When giving, we can add to the person, that we give in Love, as our Lord is Love. This way we not only witness Yeshuah, but give praise to Elohim.

    However we need to be discerning, as there are some people who take pleasure in conning you into giving, as they need money to get a fix or something in that line. I had a man dressed as a Rabbi ask me for money at the Cotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem. However our Tour guide being an ex IDF soldier spotted this counterfeit and the man fled. In another incident, a lady who came to my doorstep in the UK claiming that she left her groceries in a shop and turned around and it was missing. But we learnt later that this was a common story of hers to get money to go to the Bingo.

    But still, I believe we should give in Praise of our Abba (Father), Yeshuah & the Rauch Elohim, even to a thief.
    Remember the story of Les Miserables – the villain ended up the greatest giver, because someone gave him with joy. He learnt the lesson and went on to practice it in his transformed life.

    I have never know a human who gave to the poor and became poor. The Lord sees the heart, that’s more important than money in our pockets.

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    • you are right.
      We should give and it really does feel good when you give to help someone and that person cannot stop thanking you because he is grateful.

      We have to be careful upon who we help or we will be putting ourselves at risk.

      There is this girl I talk to sometime. She has no job, claims benefit and lives alone.
      Everytime she talks to me, she wants money from me, because she has no food or no milk.

      I’ve given her enough of my money, I can’t even visit her in her house, in fact I had to go down to her place just to give her the money without setting foot in her house each time.

      I mean I wouldn’t mind giving, but I don’t even know her much about her, plus she doesn’t work hard to get what she wants.
      Why should I be the one going over to her to give her what she wants when I know I won’t be paid back?
      There was one time she kept texting me begging me, I just ignored all her texts. If she wants something, she should at least come to me and I’ll give it to her. (fact is she even lives very close to me!)

      Just like Jesus said, if you go to a friend’s house in middle of the night knocking and asking. Because of your persistence, and your action at that time, he’ll surely give you the bread you asked for!
      Also “ask and it shall be given, seek and you will find”

      And about the fact that we have to be careful not to be fooled. What can I really say?
      God doesn’t want us to be mocked and fooled. But he also says we shouldn’t resist an evil person, if someone wants to take your coat, hand over your shirt as well.

      but can that verse be applied when we are giving to the poor not to be conned? Yes and No.

      And you are right, the Lord looks at the heart not our money/appearance.

      My advice is: keep giving! What we loose on Earth does not compare to what we gain in heaven.

      Proverbs 19:17
      important: Proverbs 3:27

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  2. yes Christians are to give to the poor!

    I dislike this generation, everyone is so selfish. Just like Romans and Psalms says, “no one is good, no one is righteous”

    just to give a beggar 1 penny, no one cannot afford to let go of just 1 penny!

    if 10 people drop 1 penny to a beggar, the beggar would have 10 pence.
    We are not expecting you to drop 10 pence or £10, at least 1 penny is enough!

    People will complain and say “the beggar will use the money for drugs/booze”. SO WHAT?
    You gave him the money therefore he is entitled to do whatever he/she wants with that money given as a free gift.
    Just like your employer, do they tell you how to spend your money? no, neither should people tell others how to spend their money.

    Many people are trying to get rid of poverty, they only lie to themselves. No one can get rid of poverty, the Jehovah’s Witness should stop spreading this doctrine around.
    As Jesus said “you would always have the poor with you”.

    If people are afraid of what the beggar would do with the money, or they want to avoid the beggar to kill/harm themselves if they give him money and he buys drugs. All they can do is drop 10 pence, 5 pence or even 1 penny!

    Just like Jesus said: “how hard is it for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”
    people just don’t want to let go of their money.

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  3. Sir i am poor i want to money

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    • Glenn Stockley says:

      seek ye first the kingom of GOd and His Rightousness : and all of theses things will be added unto you…….first you must address the poverty of your spirit and mind……..

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  4. i am not afford my family my salary is very small your help me thanks

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  5. Why users still make use of to read news papers when in this technological world the whole thing is existing on web?

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  6. Sharing the good news of Jesus isn’t going to fill their bellies. Anyway, these people likely already know the good news, but are very busy trying to survive. Giving to the needy doesn’t have to revolve solely around money either. There was an organization called ‘Food Not Bombs’ that used to frequently host demonstrations/food drives for those in desperate need of nutrition. Just recently an elderly man handed out free food to the poor and homeless, and was arrested by police for breaking a law citing the illegality of giving free food to homeless people. It seems the law of man and the law of God diverge once more.

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    • Why can we not provide food for their body and spirit? Jesus said we shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. We should take the opportunity as we feed them to share that God wants to take them to a place where hunger, pain, suffering and poverty do not exist. While these things exist on earth, they do not exist in heaven. We can never assume that people know the Gospel.

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