At times, I have been confronted by people asking for money, begging really. Sometimes it is at gas stations and sometimes it is by the side of the road. Sometimes I help to honor the Lord, sometimes I feel it is too unsafe to try to help, and sometimes I try to pretend not to see them. I have not been able to lock down a specific firm position on this. Sometimes I feel led by the Spirit to give and sometimes I am just nervous by the circumstances around the person asking. Sometimes I just believe it is a fraud. I have prayed from time to time for the Lord to help guide me on this type of issue.
I still believe the situation matters. Unfortunately, we can’t trust everyone who is asking for help, not because they may waste our $10, but because they may be trying to car jack you or kidnap you. You do risk injury. We must use our best discernment of the situation and ask in advance the Spirit to guide us in these circumstances. As quickly as these situations arise, it seems as if there is not time to pray once the situation is upon you.
I believe the Spirit has nudged me more to a position where I will look to help through the scripture below. It will be most effective if I prepare ahead of time, perhaps having small denomination cash of $5, $10, or $20 readily available which I can grab easily without taking my eyes off the person asking. (This is not the time to be opening your wallet full of credit cards or sifting through a purse.) More than that I want to prepare something to hand out with the money to point them to Christ and to more resources about Christ should they wish to pursue Him.
Recognize too, that Matthew 5 speaks about much broader situations than the one I frame above. Some situations will call for a higher level of giving. Perhaps someone will come to you with a need to help enroll someone in a drug or alcohol rehab program or something similar. Some of these situations may require prayer as the financial impact may seem great to you at the time. For me, I realize that the great many of the situations that arise in my life truly are not threatening my financial security. They really can be easy decisions made with intent to honor the Lord and point others to Him. We provide the best witness when we help others joyfully, even if it is a “big ask” from them.
However, note from the scripture below, the examples that Jesus refers to are not typically going to bankrupt the one giving… extra work, a coat, allowing yourself to be taken advantage of a little. I am not trying to trivialize these things, as for some they are significant, but this type of giving often represents relatively small investments for the kingdom of heaven. Most frequently the worst I may risk is being “taken advantage of” or “fooled” into giving to someone who is a fraud. Honestly, we honor the Lord all the same and may actually have an impact on them anyway as they receive an example of God’s love from someone. If some end up “laughing” at us who give, how much does that really matter?
As a cautionary note, I point out that this scripture is not to be taken out of context to say give all you have to the first person who asks. This is not at all what I see in the text. As with everything, seek help from the Lord.
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ 39“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .