Tobit: The impact of alms

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But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. Luke 11:41

“Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life, but those who commit sin and do wrong are their own worst enemies.”

Tobit 12:8-10 (NRSV). The book of Tobit is part of the Apocrypha and labeled as one of the Deuterocanonical books. It is generally not included among Protestant Christians’ list of canonical books, while it is for Roman Catholics and most Orthodox traditions.

Tobit influenced the thinking of first century and early church Christians on many topics, especially the impact of alms. Today’s post highlights that almsgiving “saves from death and purges away every sin.” I discussed this with a scholar this past weekend to gain insight.

This idea must not be misunderstood that giving to the poor accomplishes one’s eternal salvation, but rather than we are delivered from the power of money and we overcome money’s power in our lives by giving. Our giving helps us enjoy life as God designed it.

But it also reveals that in not doing it, things will be bad for us. Giving alms is preferable to holding on to money or laying up gold. For Jesus, how we handle money reveals what’s in our hearts. What does your giving reveal about your heart?