Contend Earnestly: Giving to the Poor is Cross and Christ Centered

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Giving to the Poor is Cross and Christ Centered

I was listening to a sermon by Tim Keller called, Blueprint for Survival: Social Concern, and he quoted the great Scottish pastor, Robert Murray McCheyne on giving to the poor and the needy. It is quite Christ and cross centered and I thought I would share it here.

Dear Christians:

Some of you pray night and day to be branches of the true vine; you pray to be made all over in the image of Christ

If so, you must be like him in giving. Though he was rich yet for our sakes he became poor.

Objection: My money is my own.

Answer: Hmmm, well, Christ might have said: My blood is my own, my life is my own. Then where should you have been?

Objection: The poor are undeserving

Answer: Well, Christ might have said these are wicked rebels, shall I lay down my life for these? I will give to the good angels, the deserving poor. But no, he left the 99 and came after the lost; he gave his blood for the undeserving.

Objection: Well, but, If I give my charity the poor may abuse it!

Answer: Christ might have said the same thing, yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet, that most would despise it, that many would make it an excuse for sinning more and yet he gave his own blood.

My dear Christians, if you would be like Christ: give much, give often, give freely to the vile and the poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness. Remember his own word; it’s more happy, it’s more blessed to give than to receive.


Anonymous said...


With due respect, I wish to bring another perspective and ask your opinion:

This topic you bring up is a very timely question in our culture today. More and more people are willing to become whom we call “the poor,” more and more people are willing to let you take care of them, and I ask you, are you really talking about “the poor” or are you talking about the lazy, the sluggard, the slothful, the idle…the glutton…the foolish…Whom God also has much to talk about.

I have been down this road before. And I have to ask you: “who are the poor spoken of in the bible?” Are they the lazy, the foolish, the willful sinners, the unrepentent greedy willing to take what others are willing to give? (I also do understand the lazy, the foolish, the willful sinners, the greedy will become truly poor and unable to care for themselves in time and even die and then will need our mercy! which I am more than willing to give)

In the story of the ant and the grasshopper: Is the Ant asked by God to give to the grasshopper? Is the grasshopper truly poor? I have spent much time reading over Proverbs seeking answers and I see God asking us to consider carefully and be wise. I see God warning us not to be grasshoppers. But I don’t see God calling the grasshopper poor, only foolish, lazy, and a sluggard! I see God telling us the grasshopper will die! I see God saying be ants!

I am more than happy to give to the poor. I am more than happy to give all I have to the truly poor, to the mentally ill and to those who are no longer able to care for themselves even because of their own sin. I am willing to have mercy and give all I have to the poor whom cannot help themselves, but to the lazy, to the sluggard, to those who choose not to help themselves and choose to take from others, does my freely giving really help them or am I just aiding them in their sin and hurting them even more? Is enabling sinners to continue to sin loving? Is enabling what God asks us to do for sinners? No where in the bible have I seen God ask this.

Darlene said...

Thank you for posting this sermon. I intend to print it out and give it to my priest.


It is not for us to judge the hearts of others when we give. Rather, we give as Christ gave, with a merciful heart. "Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy." Do any of us deserve mercy? Surely not. Yet, He in His mercy showers blessings upon us daily, blessings that we don't deserve. In His mercy He causes the rain to fall upon the just and the unjust. In His long-suffering love, patience, kindness, and mercy, He allows sinners to blaspheme His name. Did not many of us who once reveled in wickedness, even in the midst of our wickedness experience God's benevolence toward us?

It is in giving of ourselves to others without judging, but rather counting others better than ourselves that we learn humility. "A broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise."

May it be our constant longing and prayer to be like our Master, Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ.

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