Meeting Needs Beyond Our Own

You are here

Meeting Needs Beyond Our Own

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×
Downloads
MP3 Audio (36.24 MB)

Downloads

Meeting Needs Beyond Our Own

MP3 Audio (36.24 MB)
×

The Bible shows that money and wealth can be used for either good or bad. In that light, it’s important that we understand what God says about how we are to use money. What does the Bible tell us regarding our financial priorities?

Since money is a tool that can be used for good or bad, it’s important that we understand God’s instructions in the Bible on how we are to use it. But before considering the specific principles and commands He gives, we need to understand God’s perspective regarding the use of our money and His fundamental requirements of us in this regard.

God’s ownership and assignment of labor

God reveals that He is the Creator of heaven and earth. As such, everything belongs to Him. “All the earth is Mine,” He declares (Exodus 19:5 Exodus 19:5Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
American King James Version×
). This includes all precious metals (Haggai 2:8 Haggai 2:8The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, said the LORD of hosts.
American King James Version×
), animals (Psalms 50:11 Psalms 50:11I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
American King James Version×
) and people (Ezekiel 18:4 Ezekiel 18:4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die.
American King James Version×
)—each one of us.

When God made man in His image (Genesis 1:26-27 Genesis 1:26-27 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
American King James Version×
), He “put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15 Genesis 2:15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
American King James Version×
). So Adam had work to do. His job was to care for this area in which God had placed him.

After Adam sinned by eating of the fruit God had forbidden, he was expelled from Eden but still had to work—only his work would be much harder, to the point of drudgery.

God told him: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:17-19 Genesis 3:17-19 17 And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return.
American King James Version×
). Still, expended effort would bring with it certain rewards, including continuing livelihood.

Like Adam, we must work to sustain our lives. Human beings, however, are not self-sufficient. Thankfully, God continues to help us, providing for us in ways we cannot. “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth,” He tells us (Psalms 104:14 Psalms 104:14He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;
American King James Version×
).

When we enjoy the fruit of our labors, we should remember that everything we have is ultimately a gift from God, the Maker of everything. “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19 Ecclesiastes 5:19Every man also to whom God has given riches and wealth, and has given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.
American King James Version×
).

Working hard and enjoying the resulting fruits of one’s labor are godly principles most people understand and accept as a fundamental part of life.

The work of God

Yet human beings are not the only ones who work. So do beings in the spirit realm—both angels and God. Jesus Christ said specifically that God the Father works (John 5:17 John 5:17But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work.
American King James Version×
). As a spirit being (John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
American King James Version×
), God does not need food, shelter and clothing to survive. His work is spiritual and humanitarian.

John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×
summarizes God’s motivation for everything He does toward mankind: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God’s work in fulfilling His plan for mankind, which He began before the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34 Matthew 25:34Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
American King James Version×
; Revelation 13:8 Revelation 13:8And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
American King James Version×
; 2 Timothy 1:9 2 Timothy 1:9Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
American King James Version×
), continues.

Similarly, God expects spiritual and humanitarian work of us. Just as we work to sustain ourselves physically, we must work for a greater spiritual purpose. The apostle Paul tells us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
American King James Version×
). We cannot earn salvation by human efforts, but God makes it clear that we were also created to do “good works” that have a vital spiritual dimension.

The money we earn from our physical and mental efforts can be profitably used to support important spiritual concepts and endeavors. Let’s examine and understand an important biblical principle the early Church practiced.

Our financial priority

Throughout the ages God has seen to it that a true message of hope has been preserved and spread. He first used His patriarchs, prophets and priests to convey the message. Now, in this age, He uses His Church, His called-out assembly of followers. Jesus Christ commissioned His followers to proclaim the “gospel of the kingdom of God” to all nations, leading others to become disciples (Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
American King James Version×
; 28:19-20).

Christ’s message—the gospel, meaning good news —encompasses far more than many understand. (To discover the biblical truth about the message Jesus proclaimed, be sure to read our Bible study aid booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom .)

This is the message the world desperately needs to hear. And Christ’s followers have the responsibility of ensuring that it goes forth. Along with our fervent prayers and, in some cases, direct participation, dedicating a portion of our incomes to this noble cause helps the good news, this message of hope, to be proclaimed far and wide.

When Jesus sent out His disciples to spread the gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 10:1 Matthew 10:1And when he had called to him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
American King James Version×
), He said, “Freely you have received, freely give” (verse 8). The disciples did not have to charge others to provide for their physical needs because those needs were voluntarily supplied by those who heard their message (Matthew 10:11 Matthew 10:11And into whatever city or town you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till you go there.
American King James Version×
; Luke 9:3-4 Luke 9:3-4 3 And he said to them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor money, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. 4 And whatever house you enter into, there abide, and there depart.
American King James Version×
). As Paul later wrote, “Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14 1 Corinthians 9:14Even so has the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
American King James Version×
).

The question naturally arises, how much should we contribute to further Christ’s commission to proclaim the gospel and train disciples? People may debate this answer endlessly, but God has already given a specific answer—a tithe or tenth, meaning 10 percent of our income (Leviticus 27:32 Leviticus 27:32And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to the LORD.
American King James Version×
). In instructing the ancient Israelites how to manage their financial affairs, God said, “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30 Leviticus 27:30And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy to the LORD.
American King James Version×
).

This passage shows us that this tithe belongs to God. It is His. It is not ours to do with as we please. Because God owns everything, He has the right to retain whatever He chooses. In reality, He is requesting only that we return to Him a portion of what He has already given to us.

God allows us to keep the greatest portion of the physical blessings He provides us. He asks only that we return a percentage, a tenth, to Him in acknowledgment that He is the source of all good things. If we ignore this principle, we will rob ourselves of God’s blessings (Malachi 3:8-9 Malachi 3:8-9 8 Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed me, even this whole nation.
American King James Version×
).

During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ upheld the practice of tithing (Matthew 23:23 Matthew 23:23Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
American King James Version×
). Let us, then, examine this scriptural practice in more detail.

Examples of righteousness

The first mention of tithing in the Bible is in Genesis 14. Here, Abram (later renamed Abraham in Genesis 17:5 Genesis 17:5Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you.
American King James Version×
), the same person later extolled as a model of faith and behavior for Christians (Galatians 3:29 Galatians 3:29And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
American King James Version×
; Romans 4:11 Romans 4:11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also:
American King James Version×
), engaged in a rescue mission to free his nephew Lot, who had been taken captive (Genesis 14:1-14 Genesis 14:1-14 1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; 2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. 4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emins in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, to Elparan, which is by the wilderness. 7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelled in Hazezontamar. 8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim; 9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. 10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. 11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelled in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. 13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelled in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. 14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them to Dan.
American King James Version×
).

After successfully rescuing Lot and recovering various goods, Abram met with Melchizedek, “the priest of God,” and “gave him a tithe of all” (Genesis 14:16-20 Genesis 14:16-20 16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. 17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
American King James Version×
). Note that Abraham tithed on everything —not just agricultural produce as some have concluded.

Later we read of Abraham’s grandson Jacob making this promise to God: “Of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You” (Genesis 28:22 Genesis 28:22And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that you shall give me I will surely give the tenth to you.
American King James Version×
). The practice of tithing, we see, predated the national covenant God later made with the Israelites. 

As time passed, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob grew into the nation of Israel. After rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, God instructed the Israelites on how to be a holy nation (Exodus 19:6 Exodus 19:6And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.
American King James Version×
). Part of their obedience that would make them “a special treasure to Me above all people” (Exodus 19:5 Exodus 19:5Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
American King James Version×
) entailed tithing on the “increase” God gave them year by year (Deuteronomy 14:22 Deuteronomy 14:22You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed, that the field brings forth year by year.
American King James Version×
).

This basic biblical principle applies in our world. A farmer has certain expenses like seed, fertilizer, fuel, cost of equipment and perhaps rent or mortgage payments for the land he farms. The amount of increase is determined by subtracting the costs of doing business from the payment he receives for his harvest. Similar calculations would apply in most endeavors, whether we are self-employed or work for someone else.

Change in the law’s application

After an individual determined the tithe, or tenth, of his increase, God instructed that this increase was to be given to the Levites, who were responsible for taking care of the tabernacle (Numbers 1:50-53 Numbers 1:50-53 50 But you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister to it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle. 51 And when the tabernacle sets forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that comes near shall be put to death. 52 And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts. 53 But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath on the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.
American King James Version×
). After receiving the tithes, they, too, were expected to tithe on their increase (Numbers 18:26 Numbers 18:26Thus speak to the Levites, and say to them, When you take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
American King James Version×
; Nehemiah 10:38 Nehemiah 10:38And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.
American King James Version×
).

Since Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, He has “become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:20 Hebrews 6:20Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
American King James Version×
). Jesus serves in the same priestly order as Melchizedek, to whom Abraham paid tithes long ago. (Indeed, as our Bible study aid Who Is God? explains, Melchizedek was an Old Testament appearance of the One who became Jesus Christ.) This change from the Levitical priesthood back to the Melchizedek order required other changes.

As Hebrews 7:12 Hebrews 7:12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
American King James Version×
says, “For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.” The physical priesthood of the Levites was superseded by the spiritual priesthood of Jesus Christ. The priestly services at the temple, which were supported by tithes, came to an end when the Romans captured Jerusalem and destroyed the temple in A.D. 70.

Today Jesus Christ is our spiritual High Priest, and His ministers have the responsibility of serving God’s people. God’s tithes are now to be given to those who are faithfully continuing His work.

Acknowledging God’s blessings with His tithe and honoring Him with offerings is the first step in setting up a financial plan grounded in biblical principles. As Proverbs 3:9 Proverbs 3:9Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase:
American King James Version×
tells us: “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (To learn more about this scriptural teaching, be sure to read the Bible study aid booklet What Does the Bible Teach About Tithing? )

Providing for the needy

Early in the history of mankind, God intended for us to be our “brother’s keeper.” Though Cain failed to understand this principle (Genesis 4:9 Genesis 4:9And the LORD said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
American King James Version×
), God made it clear in His instructions to Israel: “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land’ ” (Deuteronomy 15:11 Deuteronomy 15:11For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command you, saying, You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and to your needy, in your land.
American King James Version×
).

The principle of helping the needy goes back to God’s original instruction for people to care for each other. Jesus Himself said that serving others and having love for one another were honorable, identifying characteristics of His followers (Matthew 25:31-46 Matthew 25:31-46 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: 36 Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? 38 When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you? 39 Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came to you? 40 And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me. 41 Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
American King James Version×
; John 13:34-35 John 13:34-35 34 A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
American King James Version×
).

As we are able, at times we need to provide additional help to the needy. As the apostle John wrote: “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18 1 John 3:17-18 17 But whoever has this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
American King James Version×
). Proverbs 3:27 Proverbs 3:27Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it.
American King James Version×
adds, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.”

When we give to people in need, we follow the example of our Creator, whose nature is love toward others (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×
; 1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×
). God wants us to develop the same loving, caring concern He has for all humankind. Describing this giving attitude, Paul wrote, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28 Ephesians 4:28Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs.
American King James Version×
).

Charitable giving, then, is another fundamental step in a godly financial plan.

Supporting your family

Next, let’s turn our attention to the family. Paul wrote about the need to provide for your nearest of kin: “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8 1 Timothy 5:8But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
American King James Version×
). God expects families and relatives to take care of each other if they are able, before asking others for help. Refusing or neglecting to obey this principle is an affront to God and His instruction.

Jesus Christ roundly condemned any who would neglect God’s instruction to care for their families (Mark 7:6-13 Mark 7:6-13 6 He answered and said to them, Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. 9 And he said to them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother; and, Whoever curses father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But you say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatever you might be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And you suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered: and many such like things do you.
American King James Version×
). Regrettably, some fail to support their families. Fathers and mothers who refuse to provide for their children violate God’s most basic financial responsibilities and principles and bring untold hardships on their offspring. The same is true for children who refuse to help their aged parents when they are in need.

Jesus used the principle of providing for family members to illustrate God’s love for us as His children: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11 Matthew 7:11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
American King James Version×
).

Now that we have an idea of how God expects us to use our financial resources, let’s look at specifics on how to establish and maintain a workable financial plan.

You might also be interested in...