Do not tell me, as a good man did today, of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my poor?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor , and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“ Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
“ The impious Galileans support not only their own poor but ours as well; everyone can see that our people lack aid from us.”
The Roman emperor Julian
It is our care of the helpless, our practice of loving kindness that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. “Only look,” they say, “look how they love one another!”
Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty; never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of the danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy;
… for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead.
You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine.… But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
Amos 5:11, 24
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded… You have hoarded wealth in the last days…. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are
crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God.
Give generously to [the poor] and do so without a grudging heart ; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to . There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.
A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.
I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
Isaiah 58:7, NLT
Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
Isaiah 58:10-11, NLT
During this time, some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings to predict by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. … So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.
Acts 11:27-30, NLT
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor .
“ He [Cornelius the centurion] and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”
An angel appears in a vision and tells him, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”
“ All they [apostles and church leaders] asked was that we should continue to remember the poor , the very thing I was eager to do .”
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food . If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs , what good is it?
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth . This then is how we know that we belong to the truth , and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.
1 John 3:16-19
Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat .”
Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat.
Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry .
Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.
Do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit.… Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.
Exodus 23:3, 6
My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
Are We Helping or Subsidizing the Poor?
He who loves pleasure will become poor.
I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.
I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.
The fool folds his hands and ruins himself.
If a man will not work, he shall not eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.
Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry.
A man reaps what he sows.
Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleas-ing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 1 Timothy 5:3-5
Let thine alms sweat in thy hands, until thou knowest to whom thou shouldst give.
The Didache (2nd Century Christian guidebook)
God divided the hand into fingers so that money would slip through.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: “Here am I.”
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed , then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
If I give all I possess to the poor…but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:3
Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.
He [King Josiah] defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?
Giving and the Great Commission
What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3
With your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation . You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language , standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
Ed, Pete and Jim
Nate, Marj, Kathy & Steve Saint
As we weigh the future and seek the will of God, does it seem right that we should hazard our lives for just a few savages? As we ask ourselves this question, we realize it is the simple intimation of the prophetic Word that there shall be some from every tribe in His presence in the last day, and in our hearts we feel that it is pleasing to Him that we
should interest ourselves in making an opening into the Auca prison for Christ.
As we have a high old time this Christmas, may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance. May we be moved with compassion as our Lord was.
May we shed tears of repentance for these we have failed to bring out of darkness. Beyond the smiling scenes of Bethlehem may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha . May God give us a new vision of His will concerning the lost and our responsibility.
“ We acted badly, badly until they brought us God's carvings . Now, seeing His markings and walking His trail , we live happily and in peace.” Mincaye
“ For a long time you children have prayed for the Aucas. Now Auntie Rachel and Auntie Betty are living down in the jungle with the Aucas. Someday, perhaps soon, you may meet some of the men who killed Daddy . Daddy would want you to love them and thank our heavenly Father that our prayers for these Indians are being answered .”
Marj Saint, 1959, epilogue, Jungle Pilot
Kim and Dyuwi (who took part in the spearings and killings) baptize Kathy Saint while Steve waits to be next.
Mincaye with Marj, wife of Nate Saint
Jim Elliot’s house?
Amazon.com, reader review of book by Elisabeth Elliot, re: living with the tribe
The continuing naivete crisis.... Nov. 2005
Why can't these poor indigenous tribes just be left alone? Why all this proselytizing? So they can become t-shirt-wearing indigents who hang around Westernized settlements? They had beliefs of their own, for heaven's sake! Irishgirl (Washingon, DC)
“ We acted badly, badly until they brought us God's carvings . Now, seeing His markings and walking His trail , we live happily and in peace.”
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?
Who wouldn’t like to end each day, putting our heads on our pillows, confidently saying, “ I know this day my life has counted strategically for Christ’s global cause, especially for those currently beyond the reach of the gospel”?
“ No matter what else you did, you brought us the gospel…and that is all that matters.”
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Ministry Finances and Fund-Raising: Ethical Concerns
Whoever believes that giving is an easy matter, makes a mistake; it is a matter of very great difficulty, provided that gifts are made with wisdom, and are not scattered haphazard and by caprice.
Giving to Secular Organizations?
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment.
Giving to the Local Church
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
1 Corinthians 16:2
There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet , and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
They did not dare to put their offering into the hands of the needy, nor give it with lofty condescension, but they laid it at the feet of the apostles and made them masters and distributors of the gift . What a man needed was then taken from the treasurer of the community, not from the private property of individuals. Thereby the givers did not become arrogant.
John Chrysostom, a.d. 390
Pastors and Money
Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
1 Corinthians 9
This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?
Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he?
Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest . If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you ? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
1 Corinthians 9:3-12
The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel .
1 Corinthians 9:14
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.… The worker deserves his wages .
1 Timothy 5:17-18
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money , but eager to serve.
1 Peter 5:2
Not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money .
1 Timothy 3:3
What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.
1 Corinthians 9:18
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve , and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Many good, godly men have destroyed themselves and their ministries when they felt they had to become fund-raisers. Once they start chasing money, something twists inside and their message and ministry begin to ring hollow.