I am at once drawn to your statement that “the giver gave the money in good faith.” To give in good faith means to have ‘honesty or sincerity of intention’ in our actions. Why could not the giver EARN the money in good faith? One simply cannot gain money by dishonest means and then act honestly with it. Ephesians 4:28 says, “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” (NASB). Simply put…STOP STEALING AND WORK FOR YOUR MONEY! Notice the important order of this verse. Stop stealing, work, and then give.

Perhaps you have stolen money and are trying to appease your conscience by giving part of it to the Lord. It will not work! The only way to appease the conscience is to confess your sin to the Lord. In the case of stealing, one must also make restitution and possibly face legal action against himself. Let’s consider a couple of verses that deal with getting money in a less-than-honorable way.

“Ill-gotten gains do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.” – Proverbs 10:2

“The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.” – Proverbs 21:6

“Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness…” – Jeremiah 22:13

There is no reward from the Lord for that which is gained illegally. Certainly, if the Lord forbids us from stealing, He does not want any part of what has been stolen. We read in Habakkuk 1:13, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor.” No matter what you do with your ‘ill-gotten gain’ the Lord will not approve of it and will not reward you. Most of us grew up learning to appreciate the Robin Hood story. We were taught that Robin Hood was noble because he robbed from the rich to give to the poor. That lesson is against the clear teachings of the Word of God. It’s a terrible lesson to teach our children! For Robin Hood to be noble, he should have worked for money to give to the poor.

Before ending this meditation, I will quote one more portion. “As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, so is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly; In the midst of his days it will forsake him, and in the end he will be a fool.” (Jeremiah 17:11). There is no good end to someone who steals. Perhaps it will be ‘in the end’ when he stands before God that he will face God’s wrath for his sins. Do not compound your sin by trying to give some of the money to the Lord. That would be an abomination! (317.4)