HOW DO WE DECIDE?
Growing up in Chicago, panhandlers would often come out to clean your windshield at a stoplight or sell you a bag of peanuts or a pack of socks. They were very active and creative in convincing you to give...but how do we decide?
My grandparents traveled by train during my childhood and would often have a layover at Union Station. My mom would prepare a meal for us to take down to eat with my grandparents. Of course there were leftovers and my mom would give them to panhandlers outside Union Station. One particular time my mom gave a panhandler the leftovers and a couple dollars. As we continue walking to the car, I looked back and the gentleman put the leftovers in the trashcan and kept walking...now how do we decide?
I have spent my entire adulthood in Texas where panhandlers hold signs on the side of the road. I had the desire to give but based on my childhood experiences I wondered what the money would be used for. “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” (Prov. 11:24). Wonderings can turn to giving begrudgingly.
How do we decide? We don’t! God has already decided. It is our solemn duty to kindly consider the poor. “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” (Proverbs 14:31 ESV)