As an alleged believer and follower of Christ it’s hard to write (and read) statements like I those made in PART 1.
First of all, I have no money and never cash. Secondly, I have worked very hard for the very little that I do have. I went to school, learned, got jobs, moved on to better jobs, eat on as little money as possible, spend literally nothing every month in our budget column labeled “fun”, sell prized possessions online just to pay for diapers, have picked myself up after layoffs and take on side jobs whenever they are presented. I tend to get very frustrated when I think about the fact that I do and have done far more than the listed and I work all week and even some evenings because I too “Need money for rent and bills”.
If you’ll notice in my type, when I begin to think this way it’s all about I, my, me which is perfectly normal and perfectly wrong. Are any of the things that have come to pass in my life, good or bad, accomplished on my own power? Absolutely not. As we learn through the life of Job, God’s even allows tragedy for us to look inward, upward , and outward. We especially can not claim ownership of the good stuff. James reminds us (1:17) that every good and perfect gift is from our unchanging God. A gift, not a reward or earning for being “good” or “a hard worker”. A gift just because He cares. So when I look at my life and my pocessions, there is no way that I can justify not sharing with those in need. We are all in need.
Throughout the Gospels Christ continually responds to the needs of others. Often the needs of the social outcasts, the hurting, the beggars. He always responds with overwhelming compassion. Doing so, He doesn’t agree to only meet the temporal needs, He busts through it and exceeds the requests with total healing, both physical and spiritual. A perfect example of His excessive provisions is in Jesus’ first miracle at a wedding with a wine shortage. He not only met the need, He produces 180 gallons (900 bottles) of most likely the best wine EVER, in record time, and out of water. He dramatically meets our needs in excess… all the time. If we claim to live as a Christ follower, shouldn’t we do our part to meet the needs, whether big or small to those we encounter?
Even in understanding the proceeding truth we can still be hesitant to give to people claiming need. “What if they use the money I give them something malicious or counterproductive to their ultimate need?” It’s very easy to slip into questioning “What if they use it for drugs?” and rationalize my attitude with past stories I’ve heard. I’ve even known acquaintances that had friends that seriously made a great living off of begging, swindling susceptible givers. So maybe I shouldn’t give any of them anything, right? The problem with all of this speculation is I end up pre-judging these people. I can assume this and that but if I give (like God gives) to these humans in need, then they are responsible for what they do with it, not me. Just as it’s my responsibility to listen to the still small voice and give from what He has given me. That’s it. For me it’s about being obedient and sacrificial to my Master. Obedient and sacrificial. Not pre-judgmental or pretentious. Interestingly, we often beg God for even piddly things and often squander His provisions.
Wow. Processing these revelations have been so good for me. We all are in need of God’s provision and He directs others to bless my life, so maybe He’s directing me to help the needs of the corner paupers. So how do I apply this truth to my life, to this daily opportunity that I have driven by for months now without doing anything at all?
…To be continued.