I ran into this article and it sparked a thought I had about a discussion I had with my wife about the topic of giving to the homeless.
New Attitude: Humble Orthodoxy
$2 dollars for the homeless - http://www.newattitude.org/blog/entry.php?id=171
I thought I would add my thoughts...
Sometime down the line I got in my head that giving money to someone on the street was wrong because they might do something bad with the money like buy drugs or alcohol rather than attending to basic needs. Here's a thought, "sometimes you give money and the person doesn't buy drugs or alcohol". Perhaps giving money means more than the monitary value and despite what the money is used for, the message of caring for the person may mean more than anything the person can buy. Perhaps giving to the person is as much a ministry to you as it to them.
Over the years I've created plenty of excuses and when it comes to taking care of my neighbors, I'm afraid I'm just falling short. I don't think the answer is easy and I don't believe there is one right choice but what I do believe is that taking care of those around us is central to the heart of God. It's easy for me to consider the words of Jesus when he says, "'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" ( Matthew 25:40 ), when I'm giving to the poor from the left overs of the lunch I just had but how many times do I pull up to the traffic light and make sure I don't come in eye contact with the person who's hobbling up holding the cardboard sign and think of Jesus' other words when he says, "'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'" ( Matthew 25:45 - emphasis is mine) Jesus' words here send a chill up my spine and it motivates me to action because of my love for Him but the next verse (v. 46) is a picture we should all take to heart and not take lightly. Verse 46 states, "'Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.'" ( Matthew 25:46 - emphasis is mine ) The point here isn't to highlight salvation based on works but rather to show how important this is to our Savior that we take care of those around us. It's the heart of God that we take care of those needing clothes, shelter, food and any other basic need of life and between you and me, I want to make certain that when I look around me in heaven I'm standing among the sheep. (Full passage: Matthew 25:31-46 ).
... and that's my .02 cents for my thought.
~ Furtak ~