Are we really called to give to everyone? Luke 6:30 and Matthew 5:42 are two scriptures I would really like to remove from the Bible, if I am being honest.
Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.
I live in a city and people are begging all the time, on every freeway off ramp, on every street corner. I have been approached multiple times in parking lots with stories of running out of gas and loss of debit card, and a dead cell phone. How am I to handle these things as a Christian? These scriptures make it fairly clear that I am to give to anyone who begs (some bibles say “asks”), but Paul says that anyone who doesn’t work doesn’t eat. So, it is not as straightforward as just giving to everyone, at least I don’t want it to be.
I want to handle my money responsibly, but I also want to be obedient to Jesus and not be selfish with my money. How do we handle this dilemma. I will be upfront that I don’t know if I have a solid correct answer. This article is more about exploring the issue. If you are looking for a hard and fast answer: move along.
As with many things, asking why we feel a certain way can be very helpful.
I give all the time when people I know are in need because I know them and their situation. They aren’t faking it.
The gospel answers to these questions, of course, come from a proper understanding of stewardship; It isn’t my money in the first place, it is God’s. He has the right to require it of me anyway he likes, if I am to call myself a believer. Does it matter if the individual is sinning by lying to me. That is up to God to handle and he will either by forgiving them and making them his children or by allowing them to bear the punishment for their sins.
So, am I simply worried about being a bad steward of God’s money? Maybe, but them I am reminded of a story I have heard about CS Lewis.
One day, Lewis and a friend were walking down the street and came upon a begger who reached out to them for help. While his friend kept walking, Lewis stopped and proceeded to empty his wallet. When they resumed their journey, his friend asked, “What are you doing giving him your money like that? Don’t you know he’s just going to squander all that on ale (beer)?” Lewis paused and replied, “That’s all I was going to do with it.”
If I am honest, even if I gave $20 to everyone beggar on every off ramp holding a sign that says “stranded” I would still give away less money than I waste on frivolous things.
Money is at best a temporary solution to the issue facing the person asking. Giving money to a person on the street is a great way for us to feel better about ourselves without actually doing any good for the person we give the money to in many cases. It seems to me that in the biblical context people knew more about one another. If you saw the same person begging in the same place every day for a year you could assume they were not able to work. You could ask if you didn’t already know their story. However, in our day that is very unlikely.
Paul was pretty clear in saying that if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat. Laziness was not acceptable. But how do we know if that is the case if we don’t have a relationship with the people in need?
As Christians we are called to give and help above and beyond. That is why Jesus called us to give to everyone who asks. He didn’t qualify it because he knew we would look for any excuse at all to not obey.
What do you think? What are your considerations when it comes to giving to everyone that asks of you?
I’ve given much thought and talked with many people about this very subject. I’ve landed in a place where I will give with joy to all who ask me, at least with as much joy as I am able to muster. Sometimes the joy only comes after I have obeyed, but all the same.
The only place I draw the line is if the money I have in my wallet is already dedicated or committed to something. By that I mean my mortgage, car note, etc… That money is technically not mine to give because I have made a promise to pay. Outside of that, any money I have is free game.
I’m with you on wanting it removed from the Bible. I think Jesus knew it would challenge our hearts this way… challenge us to see if we have the money or rather that the money has us. I want to have Jesus. Money comes and goes. But Jesus is evermore.
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