Why All The Worry About Giving A Few Dollars?

I keep finding books, blogs, and opinions that worry whether we give a bum a few dollars if she will just use it for drugs or if he will just spend it on booze.

How did this get to be such a big deal?  Why all the worry?

We are talking about a couple of dollars here, people!  It is your disposable income.  It’s merely the crumbs off your table!  Walmart jams the checkout area with candy, magazines, and novelties just to separate you from that same money, and it works too.  Just look at all the glutted American public walking around in that store – they even have websites where you can laugh at these misshaped hordes!  But no one writes a book about that?  What’s the problem?

Oh… you are afraid the money will be misused?

Do me a favor.  Check the inside tongue of your shoes right now.  Go ahead.  I will wait…

….

No. Really.  Check…

Okay.  Did the tag say, “Made in China”?  How about “Indonesia”?

I bet you got a good deal on them.  But did you know that you are supporting slavery and sweatshops when you give your money for those shoes?  How about your coffee?  Is it free-trade or fair-trade?  When was the last time you thought about where your money was going when you bought coffee or necessary items for your daily life?

Why do you care where your money goes if you give it to a bum but not if you give it to Walmart?  You are a slave trader and you look down your nose at the homeless???  Why do you suddenly care if that beggar misuses your money?

Enabling?

Yeah… that’s a fancy word that gets a special meaning in “recovery” circles and in a few psychology books.  But it’s not in your Bible.  Do you know how much Jesus has to say about “enabling”?

ZILCH!

On the other hand, he tells us in Luke 6:30 to give to all who ask.  He tells at least one rich guy to sell all he owns and give it to the poor…  (Mark 10:21).  He makes no mention that you should be worried about this kind of giving.

What?  Did it just slip his mind?  The all-seeing/all-knowing God of the universe just forgot to tell you to be worried about where your alms wind up?

And about that booze??? Go see what the Bible says in Proverbs 31:6-7.  If you trust the word of God, why all the worry about a little booze and drugs?

And anyway, aren’t you buying booze and drugs?  Seriously, why is a beer okay in your fridge, but if you see a bum nursing one you are filled with contempt?  Isn’t that hypocritical?  How do you even see him with such a log in your own eye?

Also, that money you give is not yours; it’s God’s.  And when you minister to the “least of these” brothers and sisters, you do so for Jesus himself (Matt. 25:35-40); when you withhold your ministry from the “least of these” you withhold it from Jesus (Matt. 25:42-45).  Therefore, if you give that money to the bum, you are giving it to Jesus, and it becomes his problem, not yours.  Don’t let all this contempt steal your heart!  God loves a cheerful giver! (II Cor. 9:7) but you feel compelled to give your money only to the United Way or some other charitable organization (and we all know they always spend it wisely!!!)

So…  Where are we now?

It looks like either we struggle too much with loving the money (I Tim. 6:10 anyone?) or we really hate the poor.  Which is it?

Here is an exception – though it is not really an exception, but I am sure someone will think my post is blanketing this too…  If you are in an ongoing relationship with someone you are helping as they face addiction, AND if you feel sure that person is slipping into a poor choice, then withholding a few dollars is not about love of money and hate of neighbor.  But otherwise, when you see a beggar on the street, your worry about giving her/him a few dollars has more to do with your love of money and/or contempt for the poor.  And honestly, I am mindful that even in the case of on-going relationship, the choice of the Father to fund his Prodigal Son’s misadventures is exactly the choice God makes with his own children.

So… even there you haven’t got much to worry about.

How about we cut out all this worry over giving and trust God with it?

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5 comments

  1. Ryan · April 5, 2016

    Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rondall Reynoso · April 13, 2016

    This is a wonderful work you are doing. Thank you for connecting with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. prestonsearcy · May 31, 2016

    Thanks for the thoughts, Agent X!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. writeshefali · October 16, 2016

    A valid point you stated on how our money gets misused by big brands as well as goods coming from developing countries, priced too high for what it is worth. Yes people drink, some even do drugs. Agree Agree n Agree no 2 ways about it… But here are my way of thinking, which need not be right…

    1) The moment we come to know that our money is getting misused don’t we stop using that brand or start checking the labels. Atleast I do.
    2) People who drink or take drugs, do it with their money earned. Not saying they are doing the right thing, but its their money they can do whatever with it to their bodies. As long as they are not hurting others in the process.
    3) I feel giving money for food is a very noble thing, but if its used for drugs n booze. Shouldn’t we be responsible citizen and not make them addicted to something which makes them incapable of doing anything in life.

    Because of the above, i prefer giving food or something in kind n not money. I am not saying everyone should stop giving money, you have your way of helping, i have mine. But yes i agree with one thing we all need to help those who are needy and not ignore them…do anything that sits right with your rationale…

    I hope i havent offended you with my view, if yes its not my intention. Will look forward to hear from you too.
    Sorry for my delayed response, i found your comment in my spam folder.

    Happy helping each other!
    P.S. Shefali

    Like

  5. Agent X · October 16, 2016

    Shefali,

    Yay! I am really glad you responded! And I think I am clearly reading you if I feedback that you share sympathy with my post, perhaps agree with it largely, but disagree with it too – significantly. But I am very impressed that you give a reasonable response. And NO, I am not offended. Rather, I am grateful.

    So… Thanx for responding!

    I definitely feel the weight of your point about use/stopping use of labels and brands that are known for “misuse” as you called it, but of course behind that looms large abuse of people and human rights that sometimes makes the news. And I will divulge that my wife and I are sensitive to just those things as well. Mrs. Agent X has an app on her phone she uses when making consumer decisions that rates companies on their observance (or not) of such things. So, yeah, even we make efforts to withhold from such crooks.

    I would like to point out two things I think are important and have bearing on our exchange. One is that my post is basically reactionary in nature – reacting against Christian resistance to giving money to needy people. In particular, though I don’t think I featured it in this post, I find the influence of the book When Helping Hurts to be one of the driving forces behind the reluctance of many Christians today in offering money – alms. And so, at that level, the post is an “in house” conversation, and is my comeback to a movement which is already going the other way. Thus my words are not intended to fill a moral/ethical/philosophical vacuum, but to rebut some thinking that is taking hold among a specific group.

    (That said, I am sharing it with the world wide web, and I have no desire to close the discussion off to outsiders. In fact, a little outsider viewpoint is highly valued, even though it is not the intended target audience.)

    Secondly, and because of the insider/outsider dynamic, I appeal almost completely to Scripture for guidance on the matters. Only other insiders will have cause to do this, I think, and your point, which carries weight with me, appears to be outside the scope of Scripture as I see it. We can extrapolate principles from the Bible to then apply to that point, but that puts things evermore up for grabs, in my view. Anyway, because you don’t share the same ideal for living a life based on Scripture, your mere respect that I (and those I target) do, makes us able to converse further at this level despite our differences. But it also explains them to some degree.

    Again, THANX for responding. And despite our differences, I am truly glad you CARE for the poor. That is what jazzed me about the post on your blog.

    X

    Like

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