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Family Devotions:
M. Showing Mercy to Others..........................................................................II Kings 6:20-23
T. What God Requires of Us...........................................................................Micah 6:1-8
W. Reaching Out to Others.............................................................................I Corinthians 9:19-23
T. Pleasing Others...........................................................................................Romans 15:1-7
F. Pure Religion and People in Need..............................................................James 1:22-27
S. It is More Blessed to Give...........................................................................Acts 20:32-35
S. Do Thou Likewise.......................................................................................Luke 10:30-37

Devotional Reading: I Peter 4:8-11.

Memory Selection: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Lesson Scripture

Matthew 25
34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36. Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38. When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39. Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Galatians 6
2. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

3. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

4. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

I Thessalonians 1
1. Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

3. Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

4. Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

5. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

6. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

7. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

8. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

9. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.


Charity is defined as 1. “help given to the poor or suffering. 2. act or work of charity. 3. fund, institution, or organization for helping the poor or suffering. 4. Christian love of one’s fellow men. 5. Kindness in judging people (Thorndike Barnhart Comprehensive Desk Dictionary). In “Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible” the word used is “agape.” Twenty-seven times it is translated as “charity” and eighty-six times it is translated as “love.”

The above definitions should help us understand the biblical concept of charity. It should be evident that we are to help the needy and suffering among humanity. As we do so, we must remember that when properly done, love is the motivating force behind our giving. As Christians we have an obligation to be charitable people, thus manifesting the love Jesus commands of us. He said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Christ graciously gave to us in our need and taught us to do the same. In this lesson we shall consider charity from the perspective of “Christian Stewardship,” which is our quarterly theme. Thus, in the realm of our duty to God, comes our mandate for charity. As we consider our responsibilities with regard to our finances, charity should clearly be viewed as a part of the total picture of financial disbursements. As we study the Word of God, we shall look at a number of benevolent acts and, hopefully, our hearts will be stirred, inspiring us to become more charitable.

Old Testament Teachings

The Old Testament laws showed that God required His people to be charitable toward the poor (Exodus 23:11). Deuteronomy 15:12-14 reads, “And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.” Clearly, those who were set free were to be given enough to get a fresh start. Notice they were to be liberally furnished. Some would give them only the bare necessity, but God said they should do more.

What about the stranger (Gentiles)? How were they to be treated by the Jews? Evidently, they were to be assisted too. As we read the story of Ruth, we observe that Boaz was gracious to her. He was told of her loving care for Naomi and he allowed her to glean in his field. The Bible says, “Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” (Ruth 2:10). Though a stranger from another land, Boaz ordered his reapers to leave extra grain behind intentionally for Ruth to glean. He said, “And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not” (Ruth 2:16). Today we call that charity, for Ruth was in need and Boaz generously gave help that she might continue her care of Naomi. We should keep in mind that when we give assistance, it may also be shared with others in need, so give generously.

1. Can you think of additional passages in the Old Testament which encourage charitable works?

New Testament Teachings

Although the Old Testament has a great deal to say on this subject, space is limited and so we move on to consider what the New Testament has to say about charity. Remember that most New Testament references deal specifically with love. There are also many other passages which address the subject without using the word charity and Galatians 6:2 is a favorite of many. Paul said, “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” When we are charitable to the poor and suffering, we actually do help them bear their burdens. Whether we give money or goods, their needs are met as we reach out a helping hand to help them bear their heavy load. As we look about us and reach out to those who struggle along, we are actually fulfilling the law of Christ.

There is a passage which beautifully illustrates the above verse and probably most Christians are familiar with it. It is The Parable of the Good Samaritan. The story is told of a man who fell among thieves who beat him and stole all that he possessed. Lying in the ditch beside the road, he desperately needed someone to help bear his burdens. A priest and Levite came by, but seeing his condition they passed by on the other side of the road. Like many today, they kept what they had for themselves and left the poor man just as they found him. Along came a Samaritan. Samaritans and Jews were not getting along so well, to say the least; nonetheless, the good Samaritan stopped and helped the Jew in need. The Bible tells us that he used his oil to soothe the man’s wounds, his beast to carry him to an inn and his money to pay for the care of the injured man. What generosity, what charity, what love! This lesson should strongly encourage us to be charitable toward the needy we encounter along the road of life.

2. Were New Testament saints involved in charitable works? Discuss some ways.

Charitable Giving Today

Today we can help people who live a great distance away. The recipients may have been the victims of a flood, hurricane or other natural disaster. Other charitable organizations help feed the hungry worldwide and give special care to the needs of poverty-stricken children. There is no shortage of people in need, whether near or far away; but there is a shortage of people who are willing to help them. We now have opportunity to assist the needy worldwide.

As beneficial as charitable organizations are, we must never forget the needs of those around us. Boaz and the good Samaritan both reached out personally and individually to someone they saw in need. They assisted directly and knew the person they helped. We can do the same today. There is an abundance of people around us who have fallen on hard times. Try as they may, they struggle and desperately need our help. They may need money for a variety of reasons: to buy food, clothing, pay medical bills, or buy needed medications. Supporting concerted charitable efforts helps many in need; however, such efforts do not relieve us of the duty to reach out personally to individuals around us. Pray for guidance, and reach out a helping hand where you can.

3. What specific charities would you encourage others to support?


As we apply the teaching of this lesson, we need to get personal. Listing organizations and suggesting needs will not suffice. Jesus said, “For ye have the poor always with you...” (Matthew 26:11) and their needs are many and varied. The problem lies in the deplorable fact that too few are willing to help them, even among the family of God. James said, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (James 2:15-16). Clearly, it is not enough to pray for them, although we should. The inference is that we should also give them food and clothing. How often do you reach out a helping hand?

Paul reminds Christians of every age that Jesus taught His followers to help each other. He said, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Many in our day never discover the blessing of giving. Have you?

Remember this fact, when we help others, it is as though we do it to Christ. Jesus said, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40); therefore, our love for God may be seen in our love of others. God has given us all we have (James 1:17). He certainly has the right to require the giving of tithes on the Lord’s Day (I Corinthians 16:2); however, giving to God does not absolve us of our duty to help the needy. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). As we obey the teachings of Christ, we manifest our love for Him while reaching out to help others.

Charity is a matter of great importance and we should give it much prayerful consideration. None of us is likely to give too much, but we are all in jeopardy of giving too little. May God’s Word inspire each of us to become more charitable with our God-given finances.

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This page last updated on June 17, 2014