Question: Will giving to the poor help me to be admitted into heaven?
Answer: While serving others is what God definitely calls us to do during this earthly life, there is no charity work that causes God to grant us permission to enter heaven! Eternity with God is not bought by us and our work, at all. Heaven is never earned but is a gift! Jesus knowingly and willingly paid that price for our tickets a long time ago on a cross. God accepts us as His children and admits us because we accepted this price that Jesus paid and now offers this gift to us. He was punished for the wrongs we have committed – past, present, and future. Once we’ve thanked Jesus for His sacrifice and allowed Him to be the leader or master of our lives, we are adopted into God’s own family – forever. Does it sound simple? It is, but not everyone takes this step of trust. The Bible says:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many go that route. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and few choose to take it.” Matthew 7:13-14
Through the scriptures, God encourages us to help those who are in need with the talents and resources He has given us, to relieve suffering and make others’ lives better. God urged the apostle Paul to write that our willingness to give is more important than how much we donate to the poor or to the support of our church. Our attitude or reason for giving is what God really notices, not how many people we have aided. He desires that we give cheerfully, not because we feel we have to in order to avoid some kind of punishment from God.
“For if there is first a willing mind [to help others], it is accepted according to whatever someone has given…For I do not mean that you should help others and that your family go hungry. This time your abundance may supply what someone else needs; next time, they may be able to help you when you have needs.” 2 Corinthians 8:12-14
“So let everyone give as he decides in his heart, not with complaining or with griping; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16
“When you give to the needy, don’t announce it to everyone with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have already received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:2
In Matthew 25, Jesus explained to His followers how people will be rewarded in the future in heaven based on their relationship with Him and their treatment of Israel during the final days. The acts of mercy, compassion, and kindness that He mentioned are certainly good examples for us to imitate and are praiseworthy, although they are not the reasons for God’s great favor to us:
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, the times you did these for My brethren, you did it to Me.’ “ Matthew 25:31-46
Are you ready at any time to meet God and enter heaven? Did you think that you must first become a good enough person to be allowed in heaven? If you are not sure, pray now:
Jesus, thank you for taking the punishment on the cross and for giving your own blood as payment for the wrong things I’ve done. I am very sorry for my bad past and want to change the course of my life, but I don’t know how. I need you in my life! I understand now that I can never become good enough to earn the rights of heaven but only through a personal relationship with you. Please come into my life; be my Savior and lead me; help me every single day. Teach me to lead my life to make you proud of me. Amen!