“Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” – Luke 6:30,31 ESV
Whenever verses like this come up for discussion among believing friends, someone asks, “So does that mean we are supposed to give to the guy on the side of the road holding up the cardboard sign, the one you KNOW will just use it for drugs?”
My own husband often makes this argument: “America is a land of opportunity. There are many things other than beg that people can do to see that they get fed/clothed/housed, even if it means taking a minimum wage job. The people who beg on the streets are usually either addicts or have something seriously mentally wrong. They won’t use the money you give them wisely.”
So here’s my question: Does God care? Does He care what happens to the money after we give it, or does it then become that person’s responsibility? I know He calls us to be wise with what we’re given, good stewards. So we might discern that giving it away to “everyone who begs from you” in this day and age seems absurd. Our decision has been to channel our money through organizations to help the needy who we know will use it in a manner that not only gets them food, but often education and always training in the scriptures.
But look at our society. What used to be taken care of by the church (the orphans and widows, the poor and needy, the infirm of mind) is now the government’s project. At what point did the church fail? And what implications does this have for how we do our giving today?
I would LOVE to hear your view on the subject, or your church’s view, or what you think the biblical response to beggars is (even if you don’t regularly see them in your town or city).