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Some Tips On Giving To Charity

Jesus said:

The poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always (Jn 12:8).

Jesus was not against the poor, but here He was putting the Work of God into context with the poor. Jesus is of course the centre of God’s Work on earth.

If He is neglected for the sake of the poor, then priorities have been reversed! We are to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind (Matt 22:37), and Him FIRST and FOREMOST. With God’s Spirit in us, we are to love Him MORE than ourselves! Then, in turn, we are to love others as ourselves (Matt 22:39), but this is secondary and subordinate to loving God.

The spiritual Work of God on earth is not one of primarily physically feeding or providing for the poor. It is to take the saving truth of God TO the poor, that they can have access to God, who is the source of everything, and ultimately to inherit eternal life.

The letter which follows was written by Steve Thompson (Midnight In America) to a correspondent, who asked which charity we would recommend giving donations to. His answer provides some balance to the issue of giving to charities to help the poor.


First, the best source for your questions will be the leaflet To Whom Should You Give Your Tithe?...

This will answer most of your questions in regard to giving to "churches", ministries, or other "religious" type organizations and individuals.

Over the years there has been much discussion, debate, and disagreement about the whole tithing issue. Some groups claim that there are 3 tithes that we are to give. 1) The well-known 10% tithe to God (or, as they like to say, to the "church"). 2. 10% that is to be put away to be used for the Feast of the Tabernacles. [And other festivals.] 3. Another 10% that is to be given for orphans and widows (i.e. ‘charity’) that is also given to the "church". I believe that the latter is to be done every 3 years, but I am not sure on that.

When I first came into contact with MM, I had been involved with a group that "pushed" the above method of tithing. Even though I had separated myself from this group, I still believed that this method was to be followed rigidly. I sent an e-mail to Malcolm about it, and listed (just as you did) a number of charities I wanted to give to in order to satisfy number 3 above, and to try and give to the poor as I believed we should.

What Malcolm told me surprised me. I have also learned that many of the "churches" abuse the tithes that are paid to them. The church I was involved with was a prime example. The money that was intended for the poor, widows and orphans rarely got to these type of people. The "ministers" lived high-on-hog while many church members were struggling to make the 3 tithes and additional "contributions" that the church requested / required of the members.

What I am about to say may not appeal to you, but I must be honest.

I cannot recommend giving money to any charity. That may come as a surprise to you. Let me try to explain. There are many good charities that do really good work. So why would I not recommend giving money to a charity? There are a number of reasons.

First, a charity is an "organization" of this world. No matter how good or bad it may be, it is a man-made organization. That in itself says that there are many, many problems with even the best of them.

Now I ask a simple question. Are you "of" this world? Is any Christian supposed to be "of" this world? The answer should be "no". We are not of this world. Our true home lies elsewhere. We are "in" the world, but we are not "of" it.

Two distinct things. Supporting a worldly organization is not what we Christians should do. Granted, many of them do many good things for people, but then they very often create more problems or add to existing problems. People get to where they become dependent on charities. They look to charities for help. People therefore look to man for their needs.

Now I ask you, who or what are we to be dependent on, and who are we to look to for help? The answer should be obvious. We are to look to God.

Now, many charities operate under the guise of religion, and claim that they lead people to God with their charitable work. Well, some of them do, to an extent. But they are still run by men, for men, and most of what they promote is not unlike the churches of this world. We can never be sure of what we are giving our money to. History itself is proof enough of this.

The same logic can be used for giving money directly to the poor. Say you run into someone on the street who approaches you for money. They explain the hardships they have gone through, the problems they have, and ask you to give them a little money to help them out. Being a compassionate person, and a Christian, you might think that giving them money is what God wants you to do. But is it really? By simply giving them the money they ask for, you are in essence teaching them to continue to look to man to solve their problems. Little do they realize that their primary problem is SPIRITUAL and NOT physical. By giving them money though, you are helping them physically, but you are actually harming them spiritually.

Now I realize that may sound cruel, and it may even sound un-Christian and against principles that Jesus taught. I thought the same thing when Malcolm tried explaining it to me. However, after I prayed over it (for a long time!), God showed me that he was right. I have also had some firsthand experiences like Malcolm to back it up. Malcolm receives countless "begging" letters from some very, very, poor and destitute people in Africa. The conditions in that part of the world are worse than we can imagine. However, Malcolm rarely sends money to anyone there, and never sends money in response to a "begging" letter. Why? For the very reasons I stated above. What he does do is point them to God and tells them to turn to Him for support and He WILL provide. Malcolm provides them with spiritual food that will provide much more in the long run, and will last for eternity, if they take it.

We also "practice what we preach", so-to-speak. Malcolm does not ask for money from anyone to help him in his ministry. I have resolved myself to do the same thing. God has provided for Malcolm for over 20 years, and He has been helping us the short time we have been in His service.

OK, having said all of that, I will now say something that may sound contradictory. I just recently sent a box of food to a young woman living in another state. She has 2 children (11 months, and 5 years), a dirtbag of a live-in boyfriend (unemployed, irresponsible, selfish, uncaring, and demonically influenced), no money, no food, electricity cut off, and faces eviction from her trailer. Pretty sad case, huh?

So, why did I send her a big box of food? Many reasons really, but all had to do with being moved by God. How did I know the difference? Well, I just did. There is hope for this woman, and I do not mean with her problems in the physical (though that is there too). She requested some literature from us recently through a lady that we have known for quite some time. I have also talked to her on the phone, and she is seeking God, and she is open to the new truths that are being presented to her. She is hungry!! Yes, she is hungry physically (she has been slowly starving), but she is also hungry spiritually. She also did not ask me for a thing (except the literature). She just wanted someone to talk to, and she wanted the literature. God brought this young woman into contact with us for a purpose, and He also moved me to send her the food to feed her and her children. I gave her some pretty hard advice on the telephone, and really expected her to reject it, or to try to rationalize her way out of it. She actually surprised me, and she is progressing.

Do you see the difference?

God has also moved me NOT to send money and / or help to someone. One case in particular may surprise you because the person was a true Christian, and was in desperate need of help. I initially wanted to help, but was told by Malcolm that this was not what God wanted. God verified that to me through 2 other sources. Mila was one of them, and the other source was God Himself.

Now, this person (a woman) did not ask me for the help, but was desperate, and would have accepted anything I would have done and was hoping that someone would help. God wanted her to rely on Him, and that is what she needed. I talked with her on the phone, and told her to look to God, that He would deliver her. I prayed for her, and she prayed as well.

Over the course of the next few days some really amazing things happened. God fixed her problems, and much better than the token spot of cash I was going to send her. It was also a trial and lesson for me, though I did not know that initially.

We are to help our fellow Christians, but as God directs, not as WE think. It's a hard lesson to learn.

We are also to help those who are not Christians, but then again, as God directs. We must be cautious and discerning. Our own emotions and feelings can blur our spiritual vision. We must pray and look to Him. We can look for confirmation, as I did in the story above.

Another way to look at this: Giving money / help should be done the same way healing is done. You cannot go into a hospital and clear the place out of sick people. The same goes for helping those in need. You heal those to whom God directs you, and you help those to whom God directs you.

Throwing money at a problem is rarely the best way to solve things. Look at how our own government proves this every single day!! Very often, a few well chosen inspired words can solve the most impossible looking problems. I have witnessed this personally.

One other thing I will say about all of this. We have to caution ourselves against one other, more serious thing. This may surprise you, but it is pride. Yes, pride.

Many times people give, without realizing it, for the wrong motive. Or, when they do give with the right motive, they feel good about themselves, and that soon becomes the motive for further giving. I have experienced this myself in the past. It is an easy trap to fall into, and we must guard ourselves against it. We can fall into this even when doing God's will, so be careful.

Each time you are moved to give by the Lord, afterward, give thanks to Him for using you to do His will. Give the glory to Him, and pray to Him to keep your pride in check. It is easier to fall for this than you might think.

...I went through this very thing myself 2-3 years ago. So, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

Steve Thompson

Further Reading: Giving and Receiving; The Tithe Of God; To Whom Should You Give Your Tithe?

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