As I was taking a walk with a colleague, a person approached us and asked if we could spare some change. If I am moved by the Holy Spirit to do so, I endeavor to give when asked, but neither of us had any money at that time. We walked a little further down and the woman said to me, “I’m a hard-working woman, and I have bills to pay. It makes me so angry to see people walk up and ask for money that way.” None of us can deny that asking for money on the streets by those who have fallen on hard times isn’t what it used to be. For some, ‘begging’ has become an organized profession; with ranks and bosses. But does this mean that we abdicate our responsibility to give to those who ask?
Spiritual maturity, as well as common sense, should be considered whenever we’re approached for money. It can place us in harm’s way, and we can’t be ignorant about this. However, equally harmful to our spiritual walks is denying to give and be a blessing when God has ordained that we do so. The Word teaches us to make a habit pattern of giving. Proverbs 19:17 The Message (MSG) tells us, “Mercy to the needy is a loan to God, and God pays back those loans in full.”
In some respects, I understood my colleague’s frustration. She was expressing a sentiment that I’ve heard others express as well, but we live in an increasingly complex time. There are those that are not able to keep pace as well as some of us are able to. They fall through the cracks, especially individuals that are mentally ill and have emotional challenges. They are either denied access to healthcare or they refuse it. In either case, it is a very difficult thing to see.
We haven’t given nearly as much attention to giving as we ought to, but it is top-tier in the teaching of Jesus Christ. Despite the difficulty of watching their plights play out, he already told us that the poor, broken-hearted, and down-trodden would be among us. Some of them have fallen really hard, and need a lot of help. We have a responsibility to Christ to do what we can.
In Matthew 25:27-40(NLT), Jesus Christ taught about the day of judgement for each of us. He said, “ 27-29 Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’”
If you are struggling financially, and living pay check to pay check, then you may find it difficult to give liberally. There are still others of us who have the financial means to give way more than what we do; and we fall short of Jesus’ expectation. He tells us in Luke 6:38 (NLT), “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
God also tells us through the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:7,8 (NLT), “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. 8; And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. So, the way to increase our financial capacity, and to hold on to what we have, is to be a blessing and give to others. This is the way that we create a portal that God’s blessings will continuously flow through.
The bottom line is that we need to be intentional about our giving. If you’re feeling a little unsure or unsafe about giving money to those on the streets, pray about it and ask Heavenly Father for direction from the indwelling Holy Spirit. Choose a specific day that you’d like to be a blessing, and pray that on that day, an opportunity to give will open up to you. If your heart is to give in the way that Christ has instructed, He will make sure that the right opportunity and the right person crosses your path. ■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“The Amount You Give”, written for FACM, Finding A Christian Man.Com ©2017. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!