This past Saturday, we had an amazing experience as a family. It started out as a regular Saturday morning. We went to take the kids to their music lessons and after we had to go to Wal-Mart to pick up some stuff.

As we drove into the Wal-Mart parking lot we saw an older man sitting in a wheel chair. He was holding a sign that read, “Hungry, Spare Change?” Right away the kids asked if we could give him some money. I had no change on me so my first thought was, no! Simone ran into Wal-Mart to pick up what she needed to get and the kids and I stayed in the van.

As soon as she had closed the door Journee and Levi jumped out of their seats and Journee started to rummage through the seats and cup holders in the van trying to find some money, any money. I had just cleaned out the van so I knew there was no money to be found (I had already found it all).

Levi had to use the bathroom, so I took all the kids in to the store. We found Simone and the first thing out of Journee’s mouth was “Did you get some change for that man?” To which Simone replied, “I didn’t get any change, but I bought him some food.” Journee’s eyes lit up and she asked if she could give it to the man.

One the way out of the parking lot we stopped, Journee & Simone got out of the van and took the bag of food over to him. It wasn’t much, a couple of bananas, a bag of trail mix and a couple of bottles of water. You should have seen the look on his face. He was so happy, he patted his stomach and quickly peeked into the bag. He turned to the rest of us sitting in the van, flashed a huge smile and gave us a thumbs up.

It was AMAZING to watch how that brief interaction became a teachable and touching moment for our family.

To Give or Not to Give

I was immediately taken to Matt. 25:35-40:

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

New American Standard Bible

Over the years I have taught this scripture to many youth and even talked extensively with adults about this. I believe there is only one way to interpret this portion of scripture. That is, if you see someone in need of clothing or food, you don’t question it, you just give what you can. I know this is a touchy subject among Christians. I’ve had many parents and pastors very upset with how I feel about and interpret this scripture.

You see, we have always been taught, you never give money to someone begging on the street, because they’ll probably use it to buy drugs or alcohol. I can’t tell you how sick I feel physically when I hear that come out of someones mouth. With my whole being I disagree with that teaching. I believe, and have taught my students and am teaching my children, that you give to the person in need. I agree that if someone is asking for money for food, the better option, if available, is to give that person some food. But if buying food is not an option, go ahead and give them some money.

You see, what that person does with the money is NOT my problem, that’s between them and God. I am only responsible for what God has asked me to do. And he has asked me to give food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothing to those who need clothes, to help the sick and visit those in prison.

So the next time you see someone in need on the street or anywhere, I encourage you to give. Don’t question it JUST DO IT!

 

What are your thoughts, do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from you, use the form below to leave a comment.