Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Reflections--Giving Food to the Hungry

On Sunday, I spoke on how we transform the world. Rather than depending upon laws, Christians are called to reach the world by being salt and light. That is, we are called to do good deeds, actively serving people, so that the world may praise the Father in heaven. This is something we are to do together as a church, as well as in our personal lives.

As I spoke on blessing people in our daily lives, I knew that there were stories out there of people in our congregation who blessed people this week. Several people shared how they had blessed someone, and it was if a "light" came on. You mean this is ministry? Absolutely.

After the sermon, there was a woman who came back to the offices who wanted financial help. Hmm . . . I had just spoke on being this kind of church . . . So we prayed, I took her to Wal-Mart to buy her some food, and then paid for a night of her hotel. These situations pose a dilemma for me. This was someone whom I had been warned had regularly come for help in the past, and might not be interested in changing her situation. Plus she was a bit pushy, saying over and over again that God had told her that she was being used to test churches. And maybe she is.

I know the gospels, and remember that Jesus said to give to those who ask for something from you. Then Paul says that those who do not work will not eat. We don't want to enable, and yet we don't want to neglect or fail to show God's love.

Should we help people, no questions asked? Or should we be careful not to enable or perpetuate a non-productive lifestyle?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is a tough question. Can "helping" be "hurting." I struggle with this.
Kirk

Anonymous said...

This is a tough topic. Does God need our money? Or do we need to experience the sacrifice that comes with giving? Who needs the transaction more?

Matt B

Anonymous said...

God wants us to be kind and to show his love. To me, that does not mean I should support a person's destructive lifestyle by enabling them with money. I can be kind, give food, talk to them, etc and show his love without giving money.

Anonymous said...

A conundrum I have wrestled with every time I'm approached by a panhandler...give as they ask as Jesus said, knowing they will likely use it for drugs or alcohol? (Since most homeless people know where to go for a free meal). I don't have a good answer to this one. I give to established charities and to the church...is that enough?

Eric said...

We should probably establish a system where we take a copy of their driver's license each time we provide them with something, and after 30 times (a month, although it could be spread out), we must start turning them down.

They should be made aware of this stipulation at the beginning. And, we should give them the information and support they need to become self-supporting--information on jobs, referrals to jobs agencies, sit down and discuss the details of their financial budget.

You'd be surprised how many people buy iPods and max out their credit cards with entertainment, then come to us for their food needs. They need to learn financial discipline.

Mr. E said...

Hey James, check out what God is doing in my old high school in Gilmer, TX! It is awesome!

Lisa said...

Every time I give to someone in need I do not worry about what they are going to do with the money. God tells us to help those in need. If money is what they need at that moment then we should give it to them no questions asked. Hopefully they will choose to use the money properly, if not then they will have to explain their actions to God. We all have to answer to God someday. I want to be able to say that I helped those in need no matter what.

James said...

Eric,

We are starting to do as you suggest, make a copy their driver's license and get basic information. This was the procedure in Liberty.

James said...

Lisa,

I have known other Christians with an attitude like yours--that we should give, and not worry about how they spend the money. Certainly, it may be true that we are too concerned about how they spend their money.

Incidentally, who of us has not misspent money?

Anonymous said...

we are told to give to those in need. Churches, really christains get so caught up on the money factor. Yes people work for money and from birth we are Americanized to want and need money. Only it is a very narrow understaning to only see peoples needs as money. We are getting distracted by satan with money.

I think asking people to provide an id is a power play that says to those getting help...look we are the ones helping you...don't take advantage ofour kindness.

Yet aren't we taken advantage of our bosses wealth by hidding it in the dirt?

What they need is not money. They need a friend who is willing to step down from their high and mighty walls and become as meek as then. We need to leave our churches and become friends with the homeless/hurt/besten and not just drive past them on the road to church.

This has nothing to do with money.

Jack