Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Indiscriminate Giving

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matt 5:42

He stopped me in the parking garage as I was rushing to my car from an early morning medical conference. His name was James and he stuttered so badly that it took 30 seconds to force out each sentence. He was polite and apologetic and smelled of the street. Eventually he asked for the ten dollars he needed to spend the night in a Christian mission. After I gave him the money, he hugged me against his sweat and told me to wash my hands since I had touched the dirt of his skin.

This idea of giving is profound. Sometimes it seems as simple as reaching into your wallet and handing a ten to a guy on the street. But even then it’s profound. While deciding to reach for our wallets, a host of conflicting thoughts swim through our brains, like, “He’s just going to use it for drugs”, or “If I give to everyone with their hands out, where’s it going to end?”, or “He probably deserves the state he is in.”, or even “What if this were my son?” Giving always involves uncertainty. Giving always comes with the risk that we may lose our money to an unworthy cause or that the recipient may use it for personal harm.

Jesus understood all of this complex thinking and made it simple, “Give to the one who asks you.”

I’m sure He was not talking to us ... He was talking to Kingdom people, those who choose to follow Him with reckless abandon.

What if it really is as simple as Jesus put it? What if He really meant what He said? What if all these questions about risk and loss and benefit are less important than the giving itself? What if our giving makes us trust God with our losses and forces us to trust Him to benefit the one who receives our gifts? What if this command in Matthew encompasses far more of our lives than an occasional beggar who catches us on the street?

Dear Father,

Help me to trust You with all You have placed in my hands. Help me to let go when You ask for it. Amen

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