When one takes the time to read the bible, one thing that really stands out is the importance of charity, of using ones material goods to help the needy. Consider some examples:

James 1:27 – Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself unstained by the world.

James 2:15,16 – If a brother or a sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself

Hebrews 13:16 – Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices

1 John 3:17 – If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need – how can God’s love reside in him?

Luke 12:33 – Sell your possessions and give to the poor…

Luke 14:13,14 – …when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And your will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Luke 16:9,11 – make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous money so that when it fails, they may welcome you into eternal dwellings. So if you have not been faithful with the unrighteous money, who will trust you with what is genuine?

Ephesians 4:28 – …he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need.

1 Tim. 6:18 – Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share.

These are just a few examples of how the bible stresses the importance of using our material resources wisely in giving practical help to the needy, whether they be Christians or not. In fact we are to give this help to even those who are not our friends they may even be our enemies. (Luke 6:32) None of these bible writers say “Of course when I say charity, what’s most important is taking care of the spiritual needs of others” No, over and over again the bible talks about giving materially to the needy. Preaching in no way supplants giving materially.

Being charitable to our brothers will serve as one of the main ways we will be eternally judged. Consider Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats. Why did Jesus judge certain ones to be sheep?

Matt. 25:35,36 – For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me…

Matt. 25:40 – …I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for me.

The basis for judging will not be helping a certain group in the preaching work. It will be how we treated Jesus’ brothers, how charitable we were, if we used our financial resources wisely in helping Jesus’ brothers. And who are his brothers?

Luke 8:21 – My mother and My brothers are those who hear and do the word of God.

Jesus’ brothers aren’t a small elite group of Christians. They are all who do God’s will. It is not enough to simply do no harm to anyone and preach God’s word.

Matt. 7:22 – (The Message) … “Master, we preached the message, we bashed demons, our God-sponsered projects had everyone talking” And do you know what I am going to say? “You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.”

Yes, many in that day will be able to say truthfully that they preached the message, but if they didn’t do to others as they would like others to do to them and if they weren’t wise stewards of their financial resources in order to help the needy and most vulnerable, Jesus will call them lawbreakers because they will have broken the law of love.

When we give to the poor we have no need to tell others about it. In fact it should be in secret otherwise if we make sure that others know how generous we are, we will not receive any credit from God. (matt. 6:1-4)

We may protest “but I’m not rich I’m poor”. In the bible the rich were those who had more than they needed to supply their needs (not wants). How would someone from the third world consider us? He would probably consider us as being rich. And how do we use our surplus money? Eating out, traveling, electronic gadgets? These things of course are not wrong, but if we compare the money we spend on these luxuries with the money we use to help the needy, what will we find? It is up to our conscience to decide exactly how much we will do to help those in need. It is interesting that when Zacchaeus said he would give half of his possessions to the poor, Jesus replied, “today salvation has come to this house”. Obviously Jesus approved of his decision.

Although the society does spend money to help victims of natural disasters, I would think the vast majority of donated funds goes for other projects, such as printing literature that few read. We may prove to be a better steward of our resources if we use the money we would have donated to the society and use it instead to help directly the poor and needy. By doing this we will be making friends so as to be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

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5 Comments on The importance of charity

  1. Amos says:


    This is just an excellent article. Taking it just one step further, what did our Lord next say in Matt. 25:41-46?
    41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. 46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.”

    Need I say, very serious food for thought.

    How charitable are we? Charitable is not only giving from our surplus (money) to those less fortunate than ourselves, but includes being kind, polite & considerate to ALL our neighbours. It also means to give help to those we see that are in need of help. Our very attitude & demeanor should reflect our “Christ-likeness” to all we come in contact with. These are just some other ways that we can give an unspoken witness within our community.

    The parable of “the good Samaritan”, was not given to just fill up parts of a page in the bible, but to teach us this very thing, charity & caring for others, including those not of our own faith. So, just who is our “neighbour”? Would it not be every one that we come in contact with?

    As the old saying goes; “Actions speak louder than words”. Do we do “actions” within our community that be-speak our strong Christian commitment?

    After writing these thoughts, I can see that I should do more myself.

    WCL, Amos


  2. Greybeard says:

    I loved this article JJ. Great job!

    I couldn’t agree more and I also agree with Amos on doing more myself. I know I could do more. However raised as a JW there was little focus on helping the needy with material things sad to say.
    I’m sure you have seen those guys dressed in red during Christmas time ringing a little bell in front of many stores. You know, the guys working for the salvation army. For most of my life I disrespected them in my heart feeling they were just begging for money for the church. I learned I was wrong. I admit, I have had my problems with alcoholism. At one time I went to a rehab center. Then latter I needed to go again but I was broke. I found out that the only place that would take me in and give me a home was the Salvation Army. They said they would take care of my for one year then after that they would evaluate me and continue to help me if I needed it. The only requirement was that I go to church with the every Sunday. My entire opinion of those people who ring little bells in front of stores changed. I even saw a friend of mine from AA doing it. He explained to me that it is a done by Christian volunteers and the money goes to help those in need. I never did take the Salvation Army up on going in because at the time I was still trying to be a good JW even though I had this problem. How could I go to a “pagan” church?

    The truth is there are many legitimate organizations that help people world wide. The JW organization doesn’t even compare. They have property worth billions they are not even using. i could be used to help the poor but do you think that will ever happen? Mormons help their people when they are destitute. I’m sure many other religions do too. Sure many JW’s will help friend out but many are overlooked because for some reason, this is not a requirement. Go figure, however they are required to report their time preaching and if you don’t report it you are hounded. To bad there report doesn’t include charity! That will be the day…

    Well I have ranted long enough.
    I love your web site JJ and I keep up with it,
    I just haven’t posted in a long time because I kinda got burned out and sidetracked.
    Keep up the good work brother!

    Your friend,


    • andrew says:

      One of the things that motivated me to write this article is how much the Society downplays the need for material giving. They discourage giving to charities reporting how these are corrupt. The Society would prefer that all material giving would be directed to them, so they can decide how best to use these resources.
      A recent speaker at our Hall said that giving to those people who beg for money is inappropriate, because they would probably use that money for drugs or alcohol. Instead our giving is by preaching the good news. I just had to shake my head and wonder how was it that we came to be so far from the teachings of Jesus. Matt. 5:42 “Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

      In fact when James was talking about works, he wasn’t talking about preaching. He was talking taking care of the vulnerable and giving to the needy.


  3. Amos says:

    Exactly agree with bros. Greybeard & Andrew.

    There are some situations where I have given groceries in preference to money, as sometimes money might only fuel the purchase of alcohol or drugs, & this is not what I would supply help for. Wheras food & in some cases clothing, will be beneficial, particularly if there are children in the home.

    The WTS, don’t herald some places where they invest the contributions received from the brothers, they include a South American oil company, Arms manufacturers, & they still have at least four NGO memberships in the UN, even though they deny this. I believe their European membership, also includes the supply of arms to some countries.

    What I’m getting at is this….”give to the needy” not the arms manufacturers & UN!


  4. Greybeard says:

    Oooops… Sorry Andrew, I thought JJ wrote this article. My mistake, Great article Andrew!



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