Give.

“Give to everyone who begs from you”  Luke 6:30a

I have lived with this verse for a few months now… Mulling it over…  It is amazing how deeply seven words can sink in.

I have been of the opinion in the past, that I am really responsible to be responsible in my giving.  Don’t get me wrong – that is a good place to be – but I have taken it to an  unbiblical extreme in the past.

I would walk the streets of Toronto, and decline to give money to the guy on the corner… Maybe he begs for a living.  Maybe I am supporting a drug addiction, or I have just contributed to a bottle of wine.  There is welfare, why isn’t he on welfare?  He could get help, if he chose to….

“Give to everyone who begs of you….”

“Yes, but Lord, that doesn’t feel responsible….” 

“Give to everyone who begs of you….”

Do I really suppose that on judgement day, I can proudly boast to my Father that I saved so many from abusing their money?  That I would have helped, but I didn’t have cash, or the time to take them out to Burger King?  That I knew they would waste my money on the cigarettes?  That I know God helps those who help themselves, and if they are not willing to do everything in their power to get healthy, than they are not my responsibility either?  For Shame…..

What if I give of everyone who begs of me?  It will be costly…. Because the beggars are not just the poor men on the corners of Toronto… they are much closer than that… They are the friends on facebook, that throw out the “I can’t take this anymore!” in their profiles…  The people standing all around me… who don’t even know how to ask for help.  Because we are conditioned to believe we should be able to bear the load on our own…. “You should be stronger.  What about your husband, can’t he help?  Why don’t you stop _______, to make the time?  Why don’t you stop buying ______, so you can buy ______ if you need it so badly?”  This line of reasoning has entered my sinful head too, too often these days.  And I am hearing it too often from other Christians…   Excusing ourselves, by putting the full weight of someone else’s problems on them…. We sit in judgment, and condemnation, and mentally check off how someone else could do things better, so that they would not Need the help…. For shame.

God forgive me.  May you forgive me…. for all the times I have said no, or said yes with a bitter heart.  Because I have determined you should be stronger, more organised, happier, healthier….  Instead of me reaching out, and helping….

Well, that was painfully honest… I hope you understand…. 

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jim
    Feb 08, 2008 @ 16:50:58

    I totally hear you. I’ve gone through the same realization myself. The game plan I came up with is: If I have time, I’ll offer to take them to a fast-food place and buy them a combo. Or buy them some food at the nearest 7-11/convenience store (which they’re often standing in front of to begin with). If I don’t have time, I’ll give them a couple bucks and not worry about what they do with it.

    Reply

  2. Stacey
    Feb 09, 2008 @ 01:56:47

    Hey

    Didnt think I would ever do a reply but have had negative feelings about people asking for help as well. For me though I dont see monitary help anywhere near the same as a friend / family etc asking for assistance. You have to wonder if you do go for giving someone monitary help, does that actually help or hinder the person.

    Then I must admit what goes through my head a lot is the thing that if I can do something, why does a perfectly healthy person need assistance to do a task. That bothers me as I do have to ask for help at times and actually do need it.

    One more thing that you might want to include is how many times can you actually assist a single person? Do you help out the first time they ask for help? The fifth time they ask for help? 10th, 20th…

    Anyways thats my two cents
    ~Stacey

    Reply

  3. Nicole
    Feb 09, 2008 @ 07:41:51

    ack!!! you read my thoughts!!! 🙂 It’s so different when I know who is reading….

    I know what you are saying Stacey – I had a neighbor in Windsor that Brad and I helped quite a bit… she had two kids, and a couple dogs, and a couple cats… and she didn’t have money for groceries, because when life got really hard, she added a pack of cigarettes to her day – she was up to three a day when we moved – she was spending more in cigarettes in a day than Brad and I were on groceries… how do we help them then? And, what do I think God requires of me in these situations?

    I see people like yourself, who don’t ask for help often (unless it’s at stamp club 🙂 ) and I see people who could do for themselves but don’t…. I am trying to judge the situation, and the heart less… and really just address each situation as: this person can not handle this situation alone right now… how can I help their load to feel lighter? Rather than thinking there is no reason Why they shouldn’t be able to handle things… Does that make sense?

    Thanks for your thoughts Jim!!

    Reply

  4. Stacey
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 01:47:03

    Yeah I know that there are people who can notmally handle things that just have days that they need that helping hand for whatever reason. However, usually if this is the case, that person has to make the effort to ask for help and then you know that they do need that help.

    I know personally I have tried to help many many people that have the condtion I have. You want everyone to have a better life and the knowledge that you have learned the hard way but when its the same person asking the same question or for the same help and they are just draining your energy that could be directed to someone who would actually take your advice / help and try to better their life or even just make that one tiny change in their routine that could help.

    Sadly there are just people out there that basically just drain the energy out of those that will help them. And there are those out there that are so greatful for any help. If you could chose to only help one… your going to help the one that is greatful because you know that they will pass it along. So instead of helping one person who will take it for granted, you can help one who will help another who will help another.

    I know personally I have to limit who I can help. I wish I could help everyone but that is not humanly possible, not even for you 😉

    And yeah Stamp Club doesnt count lol. Feel good about that though as I do not ask for help for ANYTHING!

    Reply

  5. Steve Grove
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 01:55:27

    I still wonder how to help. There is the selfless love on the one hand, and the responsible steward on the other.

    For the ones I am able to spend time with, I try to help them out in a broader context of discipleship. I have the advantage of my wife having great gifts of discernment, and the smarts for “people”. She is in the process of publishing a book geared to women on how to make changes in life through their strengths. The concept is that everybody has strengths. She helps the women find out what they are (gives them the tools to do it), and then helps them (the women) to put them to use in a life change thing (what they want – weight loss, addiction cessation, better devotions, etc). In other words, she helps people to help themselves.

    Of course, there are a couple of prerequisits. A person has to want to change. So many people aren’t willing or too stubborn, even if given the tools to do it. A person also has to work at it. Life is hard. Change is harder. It is also understood that there is a connection to God in this whole process. He gave us our strengths. He created us. He also gives us the Spirit that imparts grace into our lives.
    It is like discipleship verses evangelism. Evangelism is easy, with little cost. It is discipleship that costs, because that means we are imparting our life into others. I am committed to discipleship.

    Reply

  6. Jenn
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 13:28:41

    Love this post, Nic. It made me immediately think of a quote I came across this week in a book- “Giving isn’t really giving until it interrupts your lifestyle.” I have been mulling on that for 2 days. You are absolutely right in saying that we, in our human nature, are too quick to start judging instead of giving. Thanks for the further thoughts to mull over. 😉

    Reply

  7. Nicole
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 13:16:46

    that was alot of mini-blogging by everyone 🙂

    thank you all for the imput – Steve, I think we have to try and help within our spiritual gifts, right? I want to help my friend who has triplets – but I know I am better off doing that by bringing her a supper, than giving her a foot massage like one of my close friends insists on doing everytime she’s over there (Susan, do we Have to hug? 🙂 ) I think there is a joy that comes from lovingly blessing those around us when we are motivated by the right things, when we are doing the right things, that we don’t experience if we are motivated for the wrong reasons, or start to resent “helping” – because that’s not helping any more…

    I love the quote you gave Jenn! You didn’t link to your blog – are you not going to blog anymore?

    And, you are right Stacey – I’m in this save-the-world mode lately – and it is just not my job… I’m just trying to find the balance though – between justifying my doing nothing, and doing all that I feel God requires of me….

    Reply

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