Read Acts 11:19-30
“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses” (Prov. 28:27).
You know, this is a hard one for me. I need your help.
I have been in big cities and in small. I have observed people who live on the street. I have seen more than one man sitting on the cement with a sign and a hat next to him. The sign explained his situation and the hat was there to receive my donation. I have watched as a woman risked passing (illegally) through the subway with an open hand and intentional eye-contact, inviting me to help her in their plight. I have sat awkwardly as a man came into the fast food restaurant and placed a book mark or bracelet on my table with a note explaining his disability and inviting me to give a small amount in exchange for his little work of art. I have struggled as he came back around to either collect his craft or my contribution. I have witnessed men and women standing at intersections with signs requesting a gift of any size to help them over the life obstacle they were facing. I have had more people stop by the churches where I have served than I can remember. Each had his/her story and a pressing need.
Lord, sometimes I have given :)! Often, I have refrained :(.
I have tried to sort it out. I don’t really think it is because I am stingy. (If I am wrong in my assessment, please make that obvious to me!)
Is it because I am hardhearted? Have I just seen a few too many situations and lost my sensitivity? I have to admit that sometimes I wonder if a donation will really fill a gas tank or a stomach. Or will it instead fuel an addiction?
Seems like it sure would be easier on me if you would send a prophet like Agabus my way . . . someone who will confirm a genuine need in a total stranger. It’s true, some organizations do that for me. They validate a need and assure me that my dollars really address it. But, in the day to day, I will look to you for further guidance.
With all my heart,