I put some quotes together about giving that are not often taught, and for me, I agree with them.
He that is in debt is not excused from giving alms till his debts are paid, but only from giving away such amounts which should and would, pay his debts as they are due. We all have crumbs from our table, and the gleanings of the harvest, and the scatterings of the vintage, which in all estates are the portions of the poor, which being collected by the hand of God, and united wisely, may become considerable to the poor, and are the necessary duties of charity.
He that is going to pay a debt, and in the way meets an indigent person that needs all, may not give it to him unless he knows by other means to pay the debt.
Although the things of God are by a necessary zeal to be preferred before the things of the world, yet we must take heed that we do not reckon religion and orders of worshipping only to be ‘things of God’, and all other duties to be the ‘things of the world’; for it was a pharisaical device to cry ‘Corban’, and to refuse to relieve their aged parents: it is good to give to a church, but it is better to give to the poor; and though they must be both provided for, yet in cases of dispute mercy carries the cause against religion and the temple. And although Mary was commended for choosing the better part, yet Mary had done worse if she had been at the foot of her Master when she should have relieved a perishing brother.
The following is a story I posted long ago that illustrates his last point about Mary.
Very beautiful is the legend preserved by some old author, of the monk, to whom there appeared while at prayer in his cell, a glorious vision of his Savior. In silent and adoring rapture he gazed upon the glorious presence. While he gazed, the hour arrived at which it was his duty to feed the poor who came to the convent gate for their bread. The bell rang calling the monk to his humble duty. How he longed to stay! But lingering not to enjoy the vision, he went his way to the lowly work of dividing bread among the poor beggars at the gate. When he returned he found the blessed vision still waiting for him. As he looked again he heard these words; " Hadst thou stayed, I must have fled"!
I suspect any Christian would find this interesting, and the reason I believe it, is, when one incurs debt, he has given his Christian word to pay, if he gives to God before he pays his agreed debts, he is in essence asking his debtor to give to the charity without his consent, and defames the name of Christ by not being trust worthy. Needless to say, one should manage their debts and pay them off as soon as possible thereby freeing up disposable income.
I also agree with the statement that Mercy carries the cause against religion, which is to say, the needs of the poor are first priority, then the church. Not neglecting the church, but if there is only enough for one or the other, the poor are first. Then again, we need to get our financial house in order so neither will be neglected.