Should You Give Your Money to the Homeless?

Should We Give Our Money to the (2)

Awhile back the Lord dealt with me on carrying cash.

I felt impressed to keep some on me at all times. He gave me this scripture:

1 Timothy 6:18 says, “Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”

Be rich in good works, be generous to those in need, always be ready to share. To me, in a practical sense, that means we should carry cash on us. You never know when God will have you bless someone, so just be ready.

That day I went to the ATM and got out some money. As I was leaving church heading to a restaurant to meet some friends, I exited the highway and there at the stop light was a person with a sign asking for money.

He caught my eye because in this instance, he was a good looking guy and dressed pretty well. It wasn’t the stereotypical sight of a battered and weathered shell of a man, holding a crumbled cardboard sign that reads, “anything helps.”

This man seemed to at least somewhat have it together, he seemed to be about my age, he was clean shaven, and had a baseball hat on. Though I don’t remember what his sign said, I remember thinking, “Was this guy just lazy, what is he doing out here? Surely it’s not his only option for making money.”

I’m not sure if it was just my mind playing tricks, but that stop light was EXTRA long, and the guy was standing right outside my window the whole time.

The Lord said to me, “You’re ready to give, you got money for this.”

So naturally, I debated with myself if that was actually God talking or if I should “use wisdom and give my money to a better cause…”

(Careful when that thought comes, when you’re debating being generous vs. “using wisdom” …always go with generous! That actually IS using wisdom)

My wallet was there on the console, so I opened it to see what all I had.  Oh ya, I had one bill in there. And honestly it was a bill much larger than I would have wanted to give, but I decided, you know what, I’m not going to miss it here, I’m going to give this guy the cash, the Lord told me to give.  so I’m going to do give.”

I’m not going to go bankrupt from giving more than I wanted to…(and you won’t either!)

I rolled down the window and handed the money to the guy. He was very grateful, and just then the light turned green and I rolled on.

What I Needed to Learn

As I drove off the Lord began teaching me that it’s not my place to judge this man, or “deem him worthy” of my money.

Normally the way I would process seeing a homeless person on the corner goes something like this: (See if this sounds familiar)

  1. See the person, try not to make eye contact so I don’t feel guilty.
  2. Assess how bad their situation is based off their clothes and how long their hair/beard is.
  3. “Qualify them” in my own eyes based off what I see, and determine if I should give them one dollar.
  4. Feel a small amount of guilt for not helping them when I have so much.
  5. Make myself think about something else until all guilt related feelings leave…
  6. Totally disregard the instructions in 1 Timothy 6:18.

But here’s the real deal:

It’s NOT my job to judge this person. It’s not my job to call this person lazy, a bum, or helpless.

It’s NOT even my job to look at my bank account and assess if I can “afford” to give this person some money.

My ONLY job is to live by faith.

Living by faith means to simply be obedient to the instructions that God gives me.

If the Lord instructs me to “use my money to do good. Be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”

Then THAT is my job.

That is what I’m to do. Nothing else.

Who am I to look at one of God’s creations, one of God’s children and determine if I should help them?!

I am to walk in love and compassion just like Jesus. I don’t need to try and figure out what got them to this crisis point, even if it’s their own fault, it doesn’t matter.

We come with all kinds of weak justifications of why or why not we should give our “hard earned” money to someone else.

We argue, “Well I have a job, he can get one too. Why is he just standing on the side of the street when he should be putting in applications somewhere?”

“He’s just faking it, he’s probably just lazy, I bet he’s an alcoholic.”

“I only sow money into good soil, people who will produce and take care of what I give them.”

How do we know what “good soil” is?

I used to not be good soil, but I changed.

Someone helped me at one point and it changed my life.

Maybe you sowing seed into that person’s life is what they need to change too.

Flip your mindset

Start seeing people as a brother or sister who needs Christ.

They need what we have.

Maybe they are lazy, maybe they do continually make bad choices – so what?!

We are here to be a light, to be generous and to reflect our Lord and Savior.

God didn’t ignore me when I was down and out, He didn’t look at me and say, “That little punk Travis is lazy, he’s selfish, I’m not going to help him. He’s not good soil that I want to sow into.”

And thank God He didn’t do that!

Instead He stayed true to His character. And that’s what we are to do.

Stay true to God’s character.

How do we know God’s character on helping the poor?

Let’s check out what He said in His Word:

Proverbs 14:31 “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.”

Proverbs 28:27  “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.”

Matthew 19:21 ”Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Deuteronomy 15:11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

Matthew 5:42 “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

James 1:17 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.”

James 2:14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

In just those eight scriptures on the topic, none of them say anything about us deciding or analyzing the situation and making the judgement call if we should help them or not.

That’s not God’s nature, why is it ours?

He simply tells us to help them, be generous to them, open wide your hand to your brother, the needy, and the poor, in your land. Whether they “deserve it” or not, is none of my business, that’s not my place,  I need to get off my pedestal, and stop trying to be the judge.

God even promises us, just for a bonus, that He will repay and reward us when we help the poor. So why wouldn’t we?

God summed up my lesson in this final statement:

“What the man does with the money is between him and God, BUT what I do with the Lord’s instructions is between ME and God.”

My point:  When you have the opportunity to give and help, inquire of the Lord. Ask Him what He would have you do, and then do it.

Don’t reason, don’t argue, don’t justify.

Just obey Him and move on to your next assignment!

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One Comment

  1. This is good! I have the same battle within myself when confronted with the “do I give?” issue. Thanks for reminding me what the WORD says. That’s the final authority. Not our feelings or how people look. God may have you give to someone extremely wealthy! In either case, just obey.

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