So the local bum steps up to you as you’re headed to your car. Let’s be sexist and assume the bum’s a “he.” You know what he’s going to ask, but somehow he spits it out before you can interrupt him.
Ah, decisions. He looks like an able-bodied guy, and you’re pretty sure the McDonald’s on the corner is hiring. What do you do?
Do you give this bum some cash, even though you’re convinced he… well, won’t use it the way you’d like?
I used to be the guy who’d say no. And I’d defend my choice by linking it to biblical stewardship.
Now I’m changing my mind. I noticed when God tells us to be careful with our stuff, He’s not usually speaking in the context of giving. When He calls us to frugality, He’s speaking in the context of spending for personal pleasure.
When He calls us to generosity, though, He wants us to mirror His example, giving generously. God wants us to err on the side of mercy and grace and compassion.
Take a gander through His Word…
“Give to everyone who asks of you…” -Luke 6:30
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them… he who gives, with liberality…” -Romans 12:6-7
“He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.” -Proverbs 22:9
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God… that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” -1 Timothy 6:17-19
“The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” -Proverbs 11:25
“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” -James 2:15-16
“Also the schemes of the schemer are evil; he devises wicked plans to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaks justice. But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand.” -Isaiah 32:7-8
“He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.” -Proverbs 28:27
“Freely you have received, freely give.” -Matthew 10:8
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart , not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” -2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Reckless generosity is laced throughout the Bible – these are just 10 examples. What does that mean for you and I… and that bum?
(1) Next time someone asks for money or anything really, err on the side of giving whenever possible.
(2) Taking this even further, can you purposely look for these opportunities instead of waiting for the bum to corner you in the alley?
(3) What’s your take on this? What’s holding back your generosity?