Instructions on Giving in the Didache

The Didache is one of the most ancient examples of catechetical teaching in the Church, probably dating to the late first or early second century. It contains some very interesting and telling admonishments. Here are a few of the instructions I find most interesting (and quite helpful!):

 If you’ve ever struggled over when and to whom you should give money, this is for you:

Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.

If you are sometimes captivated by televangelists who constantly ask for money, you might find this worth taping to your T.V. set:

 If he asks for money, he is a false prophet….But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for other’s sake who are in need, let no one judge him.

 That said, you should support those who are genuine prophets and teachers. If you don’t have those, then give to the poor:

But every true prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have no prophet, give it to the poor.