Giving With a Purpose
Not all giving comes as a wise choice. One Christmas, a generous man meant well and gave out 100 five-dollar bills to the homeless. He handed out cash in front of the Mission causing for a rough night. The cash infusion redirected dozens of men to celebrate Christmas with alcohol. A large street party developed, and the emergency cold weather night shelter, we ran, became a mess. A good intention resulted into something bad.
I take Jesus literally at his word when he says, “Give to everyone who asks of you (Luke 6:30).”
If I have change, I will give it if someone asks for “spare change.” I don’t reason through too far because in that same chapter, Jesus notes that our giving should be modeled after God’s giving. The verse reads, “For he is kind to the unthankful and evil (Luke 6:35).” I try not to morally vet those I give to.
The man who gave the five-dollar bills went beyond Jesus’s teaching giving impulsively to a large group beyond any sense of relationship.
One biblical principle of charitable giving relates within context of direct human contact.
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him (1 John 3:17-18)?”
I use this principle all the time and want to connect as many people as I can to Jesus. Giving to the poor greatly connects to him. I show people pictures of the hungry-poor and ask them to consider sponsoring a meal. They see the picture and respond in love by giving representing a holy quality. However, not everyone will feel compelled to sponsor a meal. But, those with the love of God in them respond to direct visual contact with the hurting.
Part of giving wisely coincides with giving to those you come in direct contact with – either to those in need, or to those you trust who help those in need. If this idea hits home for you, I welcome you to visit us at UGM and get up close and personal with the poor!
UGM Stories of Generosity are by Executive Director at Union Gospel Mission, Bill Russell. Bill has been a leader at Union Gospel Mission for 25 years. He is the co-founder of Union Gospel Mission’s LifeChange recovery program. LifeChange helps men, women and children escape abuse, addiction and homelessness to transform their lives.
[share facebook="true" twitter="true" google_plus="true" linkedin="true" pinterest="true"]