A Christian Prepper’s Perspective on Giving- Part 1, by R2

Christian charity is a huge topic in the Christian prepping circles and particularly now as holiday and end-of-year giving is on people’s mind. I have seen solutions run the gamut, from churches and groups attempting to feed anyone who knocks to those individuals who refuse to prep to give anything for fear of violence against their own.

There are three aspects of giving, and many confuse these, though they are distinctive. They are as follows:

  1. Giving to the Lord
  2. Giving to your family
  3. Giving to others

The most complex type of giving is actually the first— “Giving to the Lord”. The other two are pretty straight forward.

Investing vs Charity

Most Christians are familiar with the Biblical ban on Usury. While this article is not really on this subject, it bears mentioning a short description to keep confusion to a minimum.


Investing is when you loan money to an individual or business expecting a return. There is no prohibition on charging interest on this sort of transaction that I can find in the Bible. It makes sense too. If you take on risk (monetary) then you should have some sort of reward for that risk. I don’t really see interest as evil in that case.


Charity, on the other hand, should never be charged interest. If you are loaning money so a person can meet their basic needs, it is pretty clear that charging interest is immoral.

I have long had a policy that if someone approaches me about a “loan”, unless I am willing to go through the process of setting up a payment schedule, checking references and background history, and taking other safety measures, I just give the money to them. This tends to relieve pressure on the relationship. If they want to repay the money, it’s on them; however, it is considered a free gift by me, and I will never apply pressure to the relationship. Even then, I have lost friends over money.

A Lesson Learned

One particular incident stands out in my mind. I had a friend who ran a small business and ran into financial trouble. He asked me for a loan of $2000 to get him over the hump. I had the money and let him have it under my usual conditions for friends and family. Sadly, there were still problems that arose. Apparently, the reason he was in financial trouble is that he had a new girlfriend that introduced him to cocaine. All I did was fund that habit, and his business collapsed anyway. Because I had freely given the money to him, I held no ill will and still attempted to maintain that friendship in the hopes that I could offer help and support on his road to recovery. From his perspective, the shame was apparently too great. He moved, and I have never heard from him since.

My conscience is clear though. I gave the money in good faith and expected nothing in return. I can move on with my life with the realization that I did not knowingly contribute to his demise and that his choice of isolation is exactly that— His choice. I did learn from that in that I will always do a bit more research before giving money away.


If you are not vying for “credit” with the Lord and you outright own what you are giving away, you can do what you want with it. There are always ramifications when you give things away though. Giving to family tends to cause responses of “That’s not fair!”, when you give more to one than the other. In today’s litigious world, if done so in your Last Will and Testament, it can often result in your estate being tied up in probate unless everyone gets an equal share. Even then, all it takes is one family member to feel slighted in some way.

Giving to strangers often perpetuates the problems and issues that caused the need in the first place as well. Giving cash to a drug addict or drunkard is likely to simply be wasted on more drugs or alcohol.

There have been other times when I have given cash to others, but it is not with the expectation of getting “credit with the Lord”. It is simply that I have the money that someone else needs and am willing to part with it.

My family will be Taken Care of

I have also made the decision that my children will never starve as long as I can affect the situation. Even when they are married and gone from the house, I have a standing rule that my home is a safe place. If all else fails, they can come back home, under my roof, and they will at least get room and board. They have to live by my rules while under my house though. This is usually enough to encourage them to get back on their feet and head out into the world on their own as soon as they are able.

But giving to family or others is simple. I don’t give so much that it hurts my family. I don’t give when I know it will hurt them in the long run. I do give freely when I can. But that’s not really what this article is about. How do we give to the Lord?

Giving to the Lord

Giving to the Lord is one area where we have clear guidance, within the framework of the Bible, on how we should do it. Often giving to family/others will fall under the category of giving to the Lord, but to do so, it must meet several criteria outlined in the Scriptures.

Using the Bible as Our Resource

To start with, since this article is about a “Christian’s perspective”, it makes sense to lay down some ground rules. The Word of the Lord is a Christian’s source of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, so any criteria to meet must come directly from the Bible. For this reason, I will not consider any other source of knowledge or wisdom. I started this journey at the beginning by researching when giving was first taught in the Bible, and I came up with some basic stories that we are all familiar with. There are others, but I think these three lay a good foundation.

Example 1: Cain and Abel

“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” – Genesis 4:3-5

Genesis 4 contains the story of Cain and Abel. We are all familiar with how Cain killed Abel out of jealously because his sacrifice was not accepted and Abel’s was. There are a variety of reasoning’s on why this happened. My personal opinion lies with two factors:

  1. When looking at the original Hebrew, I think that both Cain and Abel brought “fruit of the ground” as offerings, but that Abel “also” brought a young lamb. The sacrificial lamb is a strong theme throughout the Bible pointing to the ultimate “Lamb of God” sacrifice whom we all recognize as the Son of God. Abel obviously understood the importance of this concept and that is why his sacrifice was accepted.
  2. I also believe that Cain’s heart was not right with God from the beginning. If Abel knew of the importance of that sacrifice, then Cain knew as well, yet he chose not to make that offering.

The Heart Behind the Giving

But I think the take-away from this story is that the heart behind the giving is the most important aspect. We learn from this story that not every gift to the Lord is acceptable to Him. Cain’s offering was not acceptable either because it wasn’t his best, it wasn’t what the Lord desired, or his heart was not in sync with the Lord. Perhaps all three apply.

We usually understand this concept really well. How many parties have you attended where the point of one of the games was a “white elephant gift”. This is usually a gift that is known not to be appreciated and quite often the more outlandish the gift the better. We do this sort of thing as a joke, but giving to the Lord is no joking matter.

Example 2: Abram

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” – Genesis 14:18-20

In the story of Abram rescuing his brother from the joined kings who had attacked Sodom and Gomorrah, upon Abram’s victorious return the King of Sodom rides out to meet him. Abram had brought back all the goods and slaves stolen by the other kings, returning them to their rightful owners, but he also brought back the hard won spoils of war. The King of Sodom wanted back the people taken, but he tried to get Abraham to keep the goods as a reward for helping. Abram was wise enough to know that accepting such gratitude from Sodom would form an unwanted bond there and refused the offer. Instead, he met with Melchizedek, King of Salem who brought forth bread and wine and he paid “tithes” to Melchizedek.


There are a variety of interpretations on who Melchizedek is in modern Christianity, but if you know a bit of Hebrew culture, it’s not difficult to derive this identity. Melchizedek basically means “King of Righteousness”. This is not a name but a title. This title was carried by the first born son who was righteous in the lineage of Adam. The title would have been passed down in this order: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahaleel, Jared, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, Eber, Isaac, and then Jacob.

Notice that Enoch, Lamech, and many of Shem’s sons and grandsons are missing from that list. That is because the father outlived the sons and the title was instead passed on to the grandson who was alive.

“and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;” – 2 Peter, 2:5

If your Bible shows it, notice that the word “person” is usually in italics. That is a word inserted in the passage by the translators in an attempt to have the passage make sense. In this case, the translators missed the point. Look at that list again. “Preacher of Righteousness” is one of the aspects of Melchizedek and Noah is eighth in line. Noah was the eighth Melchizedek.


If you do the math based upon the dating given in Genesis, you’ll find that Shem, Noah’s son, held the title of Melchizedek during the time of Abraham. An interesting side note is that Melchizedek lived in Salem, the predecessor to Jerusalem. Abraham himself never held such a title because Shem outlived him. As part of my research, I’ve included a chart that I developed based upon my Bible study that gives a sharp visual representation of this lineage from Adam to Joseph. The dates and time spans are taken directly from the text of Genesis. I would note that the title of Melchizedek continued to be passed down through the ages until Jesus. This is just one of the reasons why the lineages given in the Bible are so important. Jesus continues to hold the title because He is not dead!

Why Abram Paid Tithes to Melchizedek

Now we begin to see why Abram paid Melchizedek tithes. It wasn’t just some random thing to do. Melchizedek was (and is) an important title in the culture. Abram was offering the Lord a portion of the increases that he had earned by paying these tithes to Melchizedek.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish up the examples that I looked at for a Biblical basis of giving to the Lord, and we will also look at laying the foundation on how to approach this.

See Also:

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  1. This teaching is counter-cultural. In the great white north the average person is indebted to the bank in the order of $1.70 for every dollar earned. For the lower than average income earners, this ratio climbs to over $3 per earned dollar. Living as debt-slaves to the banks, as the majority of people in North America are, will not permit the flexibility described in this article. Step one of the journey, refuse to become a bond-servant to the bank.

    1. It is all about choices and the personal responsibility. The average person is in that situation because they have chosen to do that. They could just as easily have chosen to manage their finances more appropriately. While we do live in a debt driven society that literally pushes debt at you, the individual has the ultimate responsibility on whether they take that debt on. Giving to God is always an option.
      I would certainly agree with your statement about avoiding indebtedness. There is an option though that is outlined in the Bible to achieve that when you have made bad choices. I will cover that.

  2. Giving to others = giving to God
    (KJV) Matthew 25: 34-40
    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.

    1. Giving to others does not always equal giving to God. Giving to others who have a need usually does (assuming it is given with the right heart). There are some qualifications outlined in the Bible and I will go over those in the other parts of this submission.

      1. R2,
        Of course, you are correct. If you read through those scriptures (Matthew 25: 34-40), they point the direction of righteous giving without expectation of reward or praise of men (there’s a scripture for that, too. something about “empty sepulchres”, I believe?).
        I’m sure there are other scriptures that say the same. I didn’t want to turn this into a Biblical scripture chase.

  3. Interest/usury – The Parable of the Talents
    (KJV) Matthew 25: 14-30
    27: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

    (dare I say it? “Greed Is Good”)

  4. After retirement my parents bought a small convenience store. My father especially enjoyed running it and interacting with the public. My mother less excited about all this but was in the game as well. She complained about one customer who smelled bad, talked loud and was rude and often vulgar. How she wished that she would simply not shop at their little store. Then one day this lady came in and asked to buy something “on the cuff”. My mother said at first she was going to say, hell no! But she quickly realized that this was her chance. So she allowed her to buy ten dollars or so of goods with the promise to pay it back on payday. As expected she didn’t pay it back but she didn’t ever show up at the store again. $10 well spent.

    Do not loan money to friends and family. Do not sell them cars, rent them homes or have any financial dealings with them. If necessary give them money with the proviso that this is a one time gift, fix your problems and don’t ask again. Only loan money to those who you wish to lose as friends.

    1. Gone,
      Loaning to family, I would generally agree that doing so causes heartache and splits.
      BUT-as with everything else, there are qualifiers. One must look within one’s heart, and rationally weigh all factors of the familial relationship. My daughter (and her husband) wanted to become independent, and start a store. So I loaned them the seed starter money (~$5k) (personal finances, no bank), and it was repaid in about two years (no interest). Five+ years later, and the store is going strong. They are not wealthy, but doing well enough.
      I just thank Heavenly Father that I was in a financial position to aid them, even though it was a pinch (but not a hardship) to my own wallet at that time.

    2. I think you missed the point, I liberally give money and possessions to the people I love, and SHAZAM I still have plenty. Some have repaid me and others (so far) have not, but I’m always sowing seeds and keeping the faith that it won’t come back void.

      1. 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Book of Proverbs, 16:18, Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
        I think the original post was about giving discreetly.
        On the other hand, what profit is there in giving to those you love. Do not the “tax gathers” do the same? (Mt 5:46)

    1. That is a very “Western”, modern church interpretation of an “Eastern”, cultural statement.

      Even the author of Hebrews (whoever that is) agrees that it is a title: “…what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec…” – Hebrews 7:11 (emphasis added) and “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” – Psalm 110:4 (emphasis added)
      Culturally, the phrase “without father, without mother, without descent…” means that the genealogy is unimportant to the subject at hand and should not be paid attention to. Indeed, until the birth of Jesus, the Scriptures don’t even deal with the title again (except in Psalms, which prophesy about the Messiah).
      Most conservative scholars agree on this point. Melchizedek (Melchisedec in Hebrews in KJV) was not a magical being. They recognize the import of cultural language idioms. The concept that Melchizedek was not an actual human is a relative newcomer to the theological scheme of things and is not a widely accepted interpretation. The concept of who the real person is is not well understood in the modern church because the church has a tendency to ignore the cultural implications, idioms, and history of the Scriptures.
      Using a Western mindset and understanding of cultural language idioms on an Eastern (Hebrew/Jewish) mindset Scripture is pretty much a guarantee to get bad theology.

  5. All things being equal, I won’t just pony up tithe to the church to satisfy a rule. In keeping with minding my talents, I will only put my tithe toward something I believe will promote the faith, help the poor, and/or bring glory to God. I’ve watched far too much offering get diverted for arbitrary purposes I would never support, let alone agree with.

    Just simply paying your fair share to a church somewhere doesn’t cut it. You must first make sure that offering is going to be genuinely used, otherwise you have squandered the blessing.

    My church isn’t in a grand building somewhere. It used to be, until I realized that God didn’t abide there much. Nowadays, I put my time, effort, and resources towards where God leads me to. About a year ago, the wife and I were praying that God would bring us a worthy purpose for our tithe. It happened that we were introduced to a young lady who’s husband had recently committed suicide, and was also 8 months pregnant with her second child. We thanked God for the blessing and have supported her for the past year while she got to a point where she could stand on her own two feet. We did this without any conditions. We’ve done similar many times before. As long as God blesses us, we will share. We paid far more than our tithe limits. We paid even beyond our abundance, but God provides. Being involved in her life beyond the gift was up to her, and she allowed us to be her friend as well, which was nice, but not necessary.

    She no longer needs our aid, though we remain friends. Now we are looking for our next blessing. That is my church, for now.

    1. benjamin,
      That is actually the more Biblical approach. I’ll cover that in more detail in Part 3 and 4 of the article. While there is Biblical basis for supporting a “church”, the individual has to take a far more active approach than the modern church wants.

    2. I think the general understanding is to give “tithes and offerings”. What you have been doing is giving offerings, I will pray that you will find a fellowship that deserves your tithes as well.

  6. Very good and timely article. I’ve been thinking about this. I’m fairly low income so giving of time would be better than giving of money to a point.

    I refuse to give my money to a “church” because the true “church” isn’t in a building. It’s in the hearts and minds of the people.

    Why do modern churches seem to think that it’s better to send $100 to Ethiopia than to give it to a single mother down the street who can’t afford to buy anything for her child?

    The $100 can be “wasted” just as easily by the people in Ethiopia as it could be by the single mother down the street.

    But- you can MINISTER to the single mother down the street. Don’t see much of anyone ministering to the person that the $100 in Ethiopia benefited.

    If the $100 is going to build a new church- it’s a total waste!

    Look at China. They’ve got the greatest revival of modern Christianity going on there and the state doesn’t even allow them to worship!

    More thoughts. This was posted in the run-up to the christmas season. As Christians we are called to have the spirit of giving year-round, not just during christmas. Reject the so-called “christmas” spirit and give out of the love of your heart when you see a need… not because it’s a particular time of year.
    Pagan and satanic images abound this time of year… whitewashed as tradition. The Bible speaks of the christmas tree as an idol of the nations. There’s a lot of similarities between Santa and Satan, including the letters of their names. Do a little search.
    You would be totally amazed at how many aspects of christmas are simply whitewashed pagan traditions. Reject them! Live the life that the Bible commanded! Read it for yourself, don’t let others read it for you.

    1. This has worked for me.
      Look around and join a local church, something that feels right, you will know it when its right.

      Immediately, start tithing 10% of your take home pay each time you are paid. Pray that God will bless your faithfullness.

      Be the best person you can, be the best parent you can and be the best neighbor you can, and live the bible as best you can.

      It took me 20 years to be a millionaire as I am a weak individual,but during the process I have tithed at least 200k and offered up so much more. It’s all Gods doing, the only place in the bible that God challenges us to test him is about tithing.

      Imo in all your ways trust in Him and lean not on your own understandings.

    2. You can also rearrange the letters of the word “live” to spell “evil.” This proves nothing. Not to mention that “Santa” means “saint” in some languages, which is how you get Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and numerous other city names. And “saint” means holy/sanctified.

      Santa Claus is a stew of legends based on a very real person, Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, who was present at the Council of Nicea, which determined that Jesus Christ was true God from true God, begotten, not made, on in being with the Father, and not just a created being, as the Arian heretics proposed. Nicholas got into some trouble for punching one of the Arians, and knocking him out. Look it up.

      If you don’t want to give any money for the building of a church, don’t, as long as you don’t mind worshiping in the pouring rain. Or in the dark. Or in a dangerously overcrowded too-small building. I know that some churches have building mania, but this is all or nothing thinking.

      The Chinese build churches like mad. Their government tends to knock them down.

  7. Cain’s offering of fruit was unacceptable because it was not a blood sacrifice. Abel knew the value of blood in redemption, Cain thought his good works were enough to redeem him.

  8. Ecclesiastes 11English Standard Version (ESV)

    Cast Your Bread upon the Waters

    11 Cast your bread upon the waters,
    for you will find it after many days.

    Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
    for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.

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