I’ve been mulling this over for a while now and have been torn about the idea of giving money directly to the poor. Don’t get me wrong, I really try to be generous and help others, but I can’t help but think these questions when I’m giving directly to someone on the streets:
- Are they really in need?
- What will they use the money for?
- Will money help them get ahead or just cause keep them on their same path?
That’s my human side showing. I think it’s natural to think these things and to try to rationalize situations that put us in a difficult situation – wondering whether it’s right to give or not to give.
As I began to think it over further, I realized that making a strict decision NOT to give to those in need because of these questions is NOT the right move. Nor is it right to give to every person who is holding up a sign asking for money.
So How Do You Know When To Give?
Studying the Word of God will shape our hearts and align our thoughts with His, so the first step is to: Know The Word
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
Notice this verse doesn’t mention money. That doesn’t mean we’re exempt from giving money directly to those in need. The point is to make an effort to understand their need and to help them meet it. That might mean food, shelter, clothing, or financial assistance.
Put reason aside and don’t pass judgment. It’s easy to jump back to those questions that plague our mind, which often keep us from giving. When you see someone in need and can help him or her, reflect back on that verse and do what you can to help.
Actively look for ways to help. If you’re really wanting to be more generous and the idea of giving money to the first person that asks is hard to accept, try being more proactive with your giving. I suppose there can be an entire article (or book!) about ways to give, but the underlying point is to encourage an attitude of giving that will help you best discover ways to meet the needs of others when it’s in your power to do so.
I may be the only one who struggles with this hesitation to give directly to the poor, but my attitude is reshaping as I constantly remind myself of what I shared above.
What do you think about giving directly to the poor? What’s the best approach to take?