So my family and I went to hang out with some friends Sunday night. We had a great time and really good conversation. We talked a bit about the state of American Christianity and how we are really supposed to live and love. We really didn’t come up with any answers but it was good to get a conversation started on the subject with some other seekers.
We got in the van and saw we were on empty so we could either fill it up now or in the morning. I decided now was a good time so I drove to the gas station and filled up the tank. As I was getting into the car, I noticed something a little strange – a young lady walked up to the guy behind me and started talking to him – obvious they didn’t know each other. I watched for a few seconds to see if I could figure out what was going on in the interchange but then got in the van.
While getting my seatbelt on, my wife pointed up at my window at the same time I heard a knock. It was the lady. I rolled down the window and she immediately started talking. She appologized for asking but went into a big spiel about needing money for gas because they had to get somewhere and they were desperate and only had $4 which wouldn’t get them very far. I looked at my wife and we weren’t prepapred for this. We ended up giving her a little money. She said thanks and we went on our way.
Now, I had enough cash in my wallet to fill her tank with gas. But we weren’t prepared. We had mixed feelings about the whole deal anyway – was she for real or was it just a scam? The rest of the night I couldn’t help but wonder if we failed some sort of test. We had just been talking about this very kind of thing not 20 minutes ago. Was God throwing us a situation to see how we would respond? Hard to say.
I have replayed this over and over in my mind. When I was bringing my hand through the window to give her the cash, I’m pretty sure I saw a glimmer of relief in her face. When I told her how much it was, I’m pretty sure I saw a disappointment and maybe a loss of hope in her eyes as she muttered “thank you”.
You just never know. You never know. You never know when someone will ask you. How can you ever know it’s a real need? Do we need to prepare our response ahead of time? Keep $50 in the glove compartment? Give without thinking?
Some might call that careless, stupid, unwise. Some might call it faith. God never said make sure you have enough for yourself before you give to others. He said give to those who ask and I will take care of you.
Still so far to go.
In this day and age, it’s so hard to know who is truly needy and who is just being lazy. I’ve come to the conclusion that as long as I do what God prompts me to do, the rest is up to the other person. It’s up to God to judge their motives, not me. He will reward or take away as He sees fit. I’m glad that’s a decision I’m not responsible for!
Jason says “don’t judge the motive.” Even if it is for the ‘wrong’ reasons the person is in need- maybe that need is love…which you are showing a bit of by giving freely.
I agree with you both. I had a similar thought once that even if they don’t REALLY need the money, they obviously have some need. Even if the person is scamming you, they obviously have some major life issues to come to the point they feel like it’s ok to lie and steal from people. I can’t ignore the fact that Jesus clearly says “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matt 5:42) And by the way – right after that he says to love your enemies. I’d say someone who wants to lie and steal from me could be categorized as my enemy.
I suppose if we view all our possessions (and money) as God’s and trust God to provide for us, we would give freely. I guess we have to decide whether or not we are willing to bank on God’s faithfulness.