“Do not withhold good from those who need it,
when you have the ability to help” (Proverbs 3:27, New English Translation).
This verse came to mind earlier when I saw a man holding up a sign on a busy street. Basically, the gist of the sign was that the man needed money.
You can always debate whether or not to give money to people like this guy. There will always be people on both sides of the issue of who is really deserving of generosity, who is legitimately in need of monetary help, and who is not.
As I sat in my car, the refrain “do not withhold good from those who need it, when you have the ability to help” kept playing in my head. For me, it wasn’t a matter of deserving.
I probably could have rationalized myself out of giving any money. But I couldn’t get that verse out of my head. I might have gone on my way and eventually forgotten about the whole incident. But I would know that I passed on an opportunity to do good that would never present itself to me in the same way ever again.
I’m not here to tell you that you should always give money to everyone holding up a sign and claiming to be homeless and in desperate need of financial assistance. That is a matter between you and God.
I can only tell you that I rolled down my window and gave that particular man some money because I felt at that moment not to give would have been directly violating what I strongly believe God was telling me to do. I don’t say it to boast because I very nearly kept my window rolled up and drove past to where I was going with all my money still in my wallet.
One word of advice: I recommend buying people meals instead of giving cash when possible.
More than that, I recommend the next time God lays it on your heart to be generous to someone, do it. Trust that God can take paltry offerings, like those fishes and loaves from a small boy, and multiply them beyond your wildest dreams to accomplish more than you could possibly imagine.
Your job is simply to give.