Questions Regarding Charitable Works

Will people who dedicate their lives to helping the impoverished go to heaven?

Not necessarily. Giving and sacrificing for others is an outcome of salvation; but does not save them. All have sinned and need to repent and be forgiven though the power of Jesus Christ.

Am I required to give to every needy person I see?

No. As with every area of life, we must be led by the Spirit of God. While we must do charitable deeds, we are to be good stewards of what God has entrusted in our care.Read more

Church Fathers on Acts of Charity

Quotes from three early church fathers/writers concerning works of charity:

And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food. —The Apologist Aristides, 125 AD

We know many among us have who have given [sold] themselves into bondage, in order that they might ransom others. Many, too, have surrendered themselves to slavery, that with the price which they received for themselves, they might provide food for others.  —Clement of Rome, 96 AD

On that day in which you fast, you shall taste nothing except bread and water.  Of the foods which you were going to eat, reckon how much the food of that day when you fast was going to cost, and give the amount to a widow or orphan or one in need.  —Hermas of Rome, (c. 90-140)

 

Cast Thy Bread Upon the Waters

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. —Ecclesiastes 11:1

Solomon encouraged the reader to “Cast thy bread upon the waters.”  Not unjustly, this scripture is often used to challenge people to sow the seeds of the gospel everywhere. While this is also true, Solomon is specifically speaking of deeds of charity. Sow the seeds of kindness and goodness upon people all around you. Give a portion of food to seven and also to eight (v2).

Sow upon all waters. Be hospitable to the most unlikely people even if they may seem unworthy. Sacrifice for the orphan, the single mother, the sick father, the elderly, the sinner. Give as unto the Lord and withhold not your hand.

In due time, God will cause an abundant increase. We sow not for the fleshly gratification, but God will repay His faithful servants. There will be a return.

—mws