Today's Word of Encouragement
Saturday, June 20, 2020
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42).
Seldom is there a day that we are not confronted by someone asking for a handout, an organization asking for a donation, a T.V. personality asking for support, or a family member or friend asking for assistance. How are we to consider these ‘opportunities’ to give?
Paul said to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:35), In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" But are there limits and conditions that affect our giving?
Christians should give to others. At the same time, giving must be carefully considered with one’s responsibility to his/her family, If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8), and to fellow Christians, So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).
What about ‘pan-handlers’? Some people believe it is never a good idea to give to a person who is able to work, but doesn’t - who is capable of supporting him/herself, but won’t. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies (2 Thessalonians 3:7-11).
If someone is truly hungry, feed him/her. If he/she needs further assistance, help with employment. If he/she doesn’t want employment, you are not obligated to assist further. However, if a widow, orphan, a person who has suffered misfortune (fire, flood, laid off work, etc.), or the physically handicapped asks for help, don’t turn them away unassisted. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2; see also Matthew 25:35-45).
The same is true of those who wish to borrow - don’t turn them away. This too has its limitations. To lend to an unworthy person would be tantamount to throwing away necessary resources, encouraging laziness, or hindering the needs of family. I believe the Lord is saying where there is a deserving family member, Christian, or friend in need, we should give without repayment, resentment, or regret.
“Father, You have freely given to me beyond what I need or deserve. Help me to be generous in giving to others who truly are in need of my support. Never let me approach an opportunity to help someone with a closed fist, rather with an open mind, heart, and hand. Let them see my generosity and give the glory and praise to You. Amen.”