A friend of mine stayed with me over the weekend and we got into a debate about giving to the poor. Don't get me wrong, I'm willing to help someone as much as the next guy, but I have to say I'm kind of tired of seeing these guys younger than my ripe old age of 27 standing on the street corners in my town wearing clothes nicer than I can afford and begging for my hard earned money.
I don't want to be accused of being a jerk, but something just doesn't seem right when I keep seeing these same guys pop up all over town. I don't know what to tell my Buddy. He thinks I'm already a jerk for not giving these guys a little something. Am I wrong?
Thanks for the e-mail. A lot of people struggle with this issue. Most have a heart to give, but we can't deny that there are crooks loose in our society as well, and we don't want to get taken.
First, who are the needy? Most often these are people who have fallen victim to circumstances beyond their control. A job loss, children that lose a parent, or a wife losing her husband, a church under persecution, a neighbor's crop loss, homelessness due to storms... the list could go on and on.
There are, however, some who are lazy that shamelessly pass themselves off as "needy." The scriptures have plenty to say concerning them. Here are a few:
Pro 19:15 Laziness casts into a deep sleep,
And an idle man will suffer hunger.
Pro 20:4 The sluggard does not plow after the autumn,
So he begs during the harvest and has nothing.
Pro 24:30-34 I passed by the field of the sluggardSecond, it's a crime against the hard workers of this country to have to pay for people on welfare that don't truly need it.
And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense,
And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles;
Its surface was covered with nettles,
And its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw, I reflected upon it;
I looked, and received instruction.
"A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,"
Then your poverty will come as a robber
And your want like an armed man.
2 Thess 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.If you feel strongly enough about these men in your town, I suggest you take the time to speak with them. Ask questions. Find out who they are and how it is that they came to this point in their lives. Are they interested in working? If you can't afford to "test" one them by offering to pay them to do any odd job at your place, then see how they respond to an offer to drive them to the nearest temporary work agency. If you get a boat load of excuses... well, you've got your answer. If they are truly in need, they'll be grateful.
Also, there are many homeless out there that have mental problems or have drunk themselves into it. Usually, they are just looking for the next drink. Some people feel comfortable to just buy them a meal rather than contribute further to the problem.
Overall Chad, pray about it every time you approach someone claiming to be in need. God can and will give you discernment concerning the situation.