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Quotes About Giving

Come Rack Come Rope by Benson

Quotes about giving from throughout Christian History.

Letter to Diognetus, A.D. 80 - 200

If you love Him, you will be an imitator of his kindness. Do not marvel that a man may become an imitator of God. He can, if he is willing.

   It is not by ruling over his neighbors, or by seeking to hold the supremacy over those that are weaker, or by being rich and showing violence towards those that are inferior, that happiness is found. Not by any of these things can one become an imitator of God. These things do not at all constitute His majesty.

   On the contrary, the one who is an imitator of God is he who takes upon himself the burden of his neighbor; who, in whatever ways he may be superior, is ready to benefit another who is deficient; who, whatever things he has received from God, he distributes to the needy and thus becomes a god to those who receive from him. (ch. 10)


Our books consistently maintain 4-star and better ratings despite the occasional 1- and 2-star ratings from people angry because we have no respect for sacred cows.

The Didache, A.D. 80 - 160

You shall not turn away from him that is in need, but you shall share all things with your brother and shall not say that they are your own. For if you share what is immortal, how much more things which are temporary? (ch. 4)

Pseudo-Barnabas, A.D. 100-130

Do not be quick to reach out your hands to take, while draw them back from giving. … You shall share all things with your neighbor; you shall not call things your own; for if you are partakers in common of things which are incorruptible, how much more of those things which are corruptible! … You shall not hesitate to give, nor murmur when you give. Give to everyone that asks you, and you will know who is the good Repayer of the reward. (Letter of Barnabas 19)

Justin, c. A.D. 150

"The President"

There is no record in Church history of an office called "the president." Both Justin and Tertullian, however, mention the president in discussing Christian meetings.

The most likely meaning is that the president is better translated "the one presiding."

This would signify that no specific church leader had to preside at church meetings during the 2nd century. That would likely be due to the fact that Christians could not have had church buildings at that time; they would have been torn down.

Numerous small meetings in the homes of poor Christians would have required those who were not elders to lead some of them.

The wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together. We bless the Maker of all through his Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit for all things with which we are supplied.

   On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place. … They who are well-to-do—and willing—give what each thinks fit. What is collected is deposited with the president [see sidebar], who helps the orphans and widows, those who through sickness or any other cause are in need, and those who are in prison and the strangers sojourning among us. In a word he takes care of all who are in need. (First Apology 67)

Irenaeus, c. A.D. 185

The Lord ... instead of the law enjoining the giving of tithes, [told us] to share all our possessions with the poor. (Against Heresies IV:13:3)

[The Jews] consecrated the tithes of their goods to Him, but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lordís purposes. They bestow joyfully and freely even the more valuable portion of their property, since they have the hope of better things, like that poor widow who cast all her living into the treasury of God. (Against Heresies IV:18:2)

Tertullian, c. A.D. 200

There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God. Though we have our treasure chest, it is not made up of purchase money, as of a religion that has its price.

   On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation, but only if it be his pleasure and only if he be able. For there is no compulsion, all is voluntary.

   These gifts are, as it were, piety's deposit fund. For they are not taken from ther and spent on feasts, drinking bouts, and eating houses. They are to support and bury poor people, to supply the needs of boys and girls destitute of means and parents and of old persons confined now to the house.

   They also benefit such, too, as have suffered shipwreck. And if there happen to be any in the mines, banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God's Church; they become the nurslings of their confession. (Apology 39)

In truth, we are not able to give alms both to your human and your heavenly mendicants [beggars]; nor do we think that we are required to give any but to those who ask for it. Let Jupiter then hold out his hand and get, for our compassion spends more in the streets than yours does in the temples. But your other taxes will acknowledge a debt of gratitude to Christians; for in the faithfulness which keeps us from fraud upon a brother, we make conscience of paying all their dues. (Apology 42)

John Chrysostom

But what is the common talk? "He [the poor] has," they say, "the common allowance." What is that to you? For you will not be saved because I give, nor if the church bestows have you blotted out your own sins (cf. Tobit 4:10-11). Is it for this reason that you don't give, because the church ought to give to the needy? Because the priests pray, will you never pray yourself? And because others fast, will you be continually drunk? Do you not know that God did enact almsgiving not so much for the sake of the poor as for the sake of the persons themselves who bestow? (Homilies on First Corinthians. Homily XXI. Par. 11.)

Martin Luther, d. 1546

It seems to be a by-product of the Gospel that nobody wants to contribute to the maintenance of the Gospel ministry. When the doctrine of the devil is preached people are prodigal in their willing support of those who deceive them.

   We have come to understand why it is so necessary to repeat the admonition of [Galatians 6:6]. When Satan cannot suppress the preaching of the Gospel by force he tries to accomplish his purpose by striking the ministers of the Gospel with poverty. He curtails their income to such an extent that they are forced out of ministry because they cannot live by the Gospel. (Commentary on Galatians 6:6)

In the old days when the Pope reigned supreme everybody paid plenty for masses. The begging friars brought in their share. Commercial priests counted the daily offerings. From these extortions our countrymen are now delivered by the Gospel. You would think they would be grateful for their emancipation and give generously for the support of the ministry of the Gospel and the relief of impoverished Christians. Instead, they rob Christ. When the members of a Christian congregation permit their pastor to struggle along in penury, they are worse than heathen. (Commentary on Galatians 6:6)

"He that soweth to the Spirit," i.e., he that honors the ministers of God is doing a spiritual thing and will reap everlasting life. "He that soweth to the flesh," i.e., he that has nothing left for the ministers of God, but only thinks of himself, that person will reap of the flesh corruption, not only in this life but also in the life to come. The Apostle wants to stir up his readers to be generous to their pastors. (Commentary on Galatians 6:8)

George Mueller, d. 1898

Only fix even the smallest amount you purpose to give of your income, and give this regularly; and as God is pleased to increase your light and grace, and is pleased to prosper you more, so give more. If you neglect in habitual giving, a regular giving, a giving principle based upon Scriptural grounds, and leave it only to feeling and impulse, or particular arousing circumstances, you will certainly be a loser. (unknown)

Fix even the smallest amount you purpose to give of your income, and give this regularly... If you neglect in habitual giving, a regular giving, a giving principle based upon Scriptural grounds, and leave it only to feeling and impulse, or particular arousing circumstances, you will certainly be a loser.

John Piper, 1986

God increases our yield so that by giving we can prove our yield is not our god. God does not prosper a man's business so he can move from a Ford to a Cadillac. God prospers a business so that 17,000 unreached peoples can be reached with the gospel. He prospers a business so that twelve percent of the world's population can move a step back from the precipice of starvation. (Desiring God, p 198; cited by Post-Methodist blog)

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