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Monday, February 21, 2011

To Give or Not to Give: Question Answered

It is 1:46 on Monday morning. I am struggling to write an important section for my Vanderbilt Capstone Project. Oh yea, the rough draft is due today, Monday. If you truly know me, you know about my habits (life) of procrastination. But, interestingly enough, sitting here at 1:46 (now 1:47) in the morning has its advantages. In fact, just now, I learned a very important Bible verse that is going to help shape my daily interactions with people in Haiti. The question I have been asking myself for the past 2 years is, “What should my response be when children, the elderly, mothers with babies, the handicapped, come knocking on my car window as I drive down the streets, begging for food, for money, for hope?” What should my response be? What is my response SUPPOSED to be, especially as a Christian? If you come and visit Haiti, the child beggar, the mother beggar, the handicapped beggar, is a never-ending procession. It is sad. It is distressing. It is abject poverty.

I logged on tonight, for the first time in many years, to a website called, a site that has a daily prayer. I used to go to this site every day, especially when I was first called to lead a life serving the Lord. Of course, you will notice the pattern here. I am a procrastinator. I went to a site that I hadn’t been to in 2 years when I was supposed to be writing this paper, you get the idea. As I am reading the prayer, the verse of the day comes to the screen: Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 42. “Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”  A long sought after answer to my question. Of course, one may interpret giving as providing a prayer, a word of advice, or praise. But, I think it is more literal than that. For every child that begs at my car window, for every mother with baby that points to her hungry stomach, I think I am supposed to provide some food or money for that person. What do you think? Are there alternate interpretations to this verse? To me, the timely arrival of this verse, and my need to visit Sacred Space for my daily prayer, is no coincidence. In fact, my Facebook status described the generosity of the Haitian people. What about my generosity? Have I truly been as generous as I should be? I think it is our duty as those that have to help those that have not. Even if it is a dollar, a pack of crackers, a book. The simple act of giving what you have in abundance to those that have none is so important. Generosity is a two-way street.

Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 42. “Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”

God Bless

Steven Kirby

1 comment:

  1. Steven,

    This is a topic many of us have struggled with for some time. I strongly disagree with your answer of giving to each beggar.

    The money would be better spent given to organizations like H.E.R.O. than to an individual. The reason for this is likely apparent to you but I will enumerate a few.

    The beggar will be back begging again the next day, in fact you've encouraged this by giving he or she exactly what they want.

    The institution can provide for a long term solution.

    There is a far higher likelihood that the institution will spent the money wisely while the beggar may not. Children that beg for their parents or beggars in the USA that want money for illicit reasons mostly since there are homeless shelters.

    Carnegie's Wealth of Nations - somewhere in here, if my memory serves correctly, states that the person that gives to the beggar does it at the behest of their own feelings of guilt more than a desire to help.

    There are many aspects to this conversation, the legitimacy of the beggar being a major one. We've both seen polio victims in third world countries and others truly in need. These people should not be grouped in with those sitting on the Las Vegas strip asking for money.

    I choose to put my faith in institutions such as H.E.R.O. All respect to your religious views but the timing of the website does not weigh into my view.