Acts 20:35 tells us, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” So why is it so hard?
The Request of the Poor
I live in a town where the poor are not few. When driving to the store, I almost always see someone who appears to be homeless. They may just be sitting on the side of the road or they may be holding a sign. There are so many in need and they’re not hard to find. The other day, I was approached by a woman in the parking lot of the grocery store. She had a child in her car and asked me for money to get gas. She had a story about needing to get across town for something…I don’t even remember what.
Our Response to those in Need
My first thought was one of doubt. What if this woman was lying? What if she was going to use the money to buy drugs or alcohol? Was I having the wool pulled over my eyes? I had three children in my car. Why did this woman need my money more than I did? I struggled for a moment, then did what I usually do when faced with these situations. I walked to my car, got out a little bit of cash, and gave it to the woman. I asked her to pass it along when she could.
A Look at the Heart
It isn’t for us to judge a person’s need. It’s not our place to try to figure out if they’re scamming us. It’s our place to give freely if we can. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did for us? How many of us could be considered scammers in our walk with the Lord? We ask for His gifts (forgiveness, mercy, love…) and then we squander them. We use them to make ourselves feel better and then we throw them away, only to sin again. And yet, He keeps on giving. Always giving.
When God gives us gifts and we throw them away, does He stop giving them? No. Next time we ask for forgiveness, will the answer be no? No.
In your interactions with the poor, look into their eyes and see your own heart. Recognize that they are much like you.
It is more blessed to Give Than to Receive
Even when remembering God’s gifts to us, it’s still difficult to give sometimes. You may be going through a financial difficulty or be fairly certain the person asking for money is lying to you. When you find yourself in that situation, picture yourself before the throne of God. What do you think He is more likely to say? “Thank you for giving even though the recipient was lying to you,” or “I wish you hadn’t given to that person since they just wasted the money anyway!” I think the first is far more likely. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart”. Be sure that as you are approached, your heart is pure.
Do you have experiences where you’ve given to those in need, even if you were reluctant at first? I’d love to hear about them!