I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus and count them but rubbish.

Faithful Servant or Poor Steward

A friend of mine hit on this a while ago and this very subject crossed my path today.

How does one faithfully handle those who come seeking help with life. Mostly they come in the form of financial needs with various woes that have befallen them. The stories are always so much the same that one can basically tell them back to them as they sob. Sure there are those who have legitimate needs still many come in need b/c they have fallen on their own repeated poor life choices.

Now I hope I don’t sound like a cynic but I have been hosed more than I have actually helped someone. We recently had a couple we helped with groceries and they took the money and was gone. Stopped coming to church and didn’t return the calls. Though I hope they are OK its just another sign of a church being had.

To add to that notion of being aware of those who are out for gain b/c of their own problems is a call today. Kids being taken away, need rent deposit and need it now. Its always a need it now situation. Thankfully I have a social services like connection to call and find out who this person was. Guess what? She was another classic case of trying to take a church for a ride.

Now I am more pragmatic about the issue. I would rather be a good steward than blindly give money away. And though some will tell you to give and let the Lord deal with them if they are crooks then two things are wrong with just throwing money to them…

  • God has blessed us with money and we should be wise about its use and give very carefully.
  • It does not really help them to give them and enable again this perpetuation of problems. Giving them money only affirms that they can milk the system and get away with it while they live in complete debauchery. So you don’t really help them to give them money.

Sure you could claim its a faith issue to give and let God, but the answer of what is faith is clear. To give to them like that does not help them and only promotes their sinful life so we should not be part of it.

But since some do have needs and you do your best to help them amid the swindlers let me give you some common sense thoughts:

  1. Never give at the “got to have it now” request. Investigation is needed. If practical usually you can find what you need in an afternoon as far as info. on them. Definitally call said person the money is going to (rent, electric, etc.) so you can confirm the legitimacy of the need. In addition they will usually show their true colors if they are trying to trick you by lacking patience. They don’t want you to have the time to catch on.
  2. Ally yourself with the local social services and community care services. Often times they have a database of families. Or better yet some are so notorious for trying to drain the system they leave a pretty wide trail of deceit. This particular call from today had exhausted every social avenue she had. Our community services was able to clue me into why this was a poor use of God’s money.
  3. Never give cash. Another way to sniff out potential false needs is to always pay the bill directly yourself. Often they want the money for other less noble needs instead of rent or feeding their children. So If you choose to give make sure you pay that bill or purchase those groceries yourself.
  4. Use your head not your heart. Remember if they are trying to swindle you then you are not helping by just being another victim. Though screaming kids and rundown appearance does tug at your heart it simply does not help any of them to give them money so the beast can be fed again.
  5. Pray for them. You know the cynic in me kicks in and says, “Jerks, try to rip me off.” But honestly they are sinners lost without the hope of Jesus Christ. The decisions they make are often that of a sinful person lost down a very scary road.

In every-way I feel bad for these people. And I am sure that many a good family has not been served b/c of the abuse of others. But I hope this will help you to think this through so that all will be helped and God’s money would be distributed wisely.


9 Responses to “Faithful Servant or Poor Steward”

  1. This was a good article, but your friend’s article was much better written and more heartfelt. Just kidding: good advice. At the last church I had a woman who was hard as flint, she was great with benevolence. She would help those who needed help but had no problem turning away the scam artists. I loved turning folks over to her, I knew the good ones would get help and the bad ones would get turned away.

  2. Hey Jason. Good post. It is a bad idea for me to have money in my wallet…I can’t say NO. I usually offer to buy the needed item, and that is the thing that usually betrays a scam. Tonight I didn’t have any time and I gave a guy 15 bucks. I’ve known him a long time, but dunno if he was telling me the truth or not. I try not to worry about it. But generally if I have the time I will buy the material / go and pay the bill myself.

    In my years of ministry I have had only one or two that we have helped ever pay a visit to an assembly. There might be a lot of reasons for this … but … generally I would think if we were helping genuine people over the years we would have had more come and see who these people were who helped them.

    blessings to you

  3. John,

    Thanks for reading.

    I would say down there this is an everyday thing. I only get a call about once a month. But I would say you constantly are working toward getting aid for someone.

  4. Jason,

    We tried to witness to a guy a couple of months ago, and he said that at one point some church in Kansas gave him a place to live for a few months. While he was willing to talk, he was as hostile towards the Gospel as anyone I’ve ever talked to. I don’t know what more Christians can do for someone.

    Good post.

  5. Bill,

    I think its an American mentality. I deserve to be taken care of. I still think its one of the major reasons Katrina was such a disaster. You have a demographic of people who have been taken care of all their lives. Though I know many needed that help many stood around with an open hand as they always have. After all they deserve it.

    But I also got to thinking. Iwonder if as a church is it our biblical duty to give? These outsiders think the church should give to them when the giving we see in the church in Acts seems to be more for those who are part of the church and need ast.

    Am I wrong in that? That organizationally giving was for converts only. It was even stricter than that b/c they only gave to those widows who did not have families to tend to them. So in a sense that would cut down on giving.

    The other thing I thought of is there is pragmatically little reason to give. 99% of the time it proves to be a very poor evangelistic tool. Nor does it seem to show the love of Jesus as well as we might wish it did.

  6. In addition to that thought if the Son of God, Jesus Christ himself gave to the thousands bread and fish as an act of love and then got down to the real message and 95% of them went home how much more us today in our time?

  7. We were once helping a guy. We gave him food from the food bank, called friends to give him new tires on his car, and offered to take him to a place to get gas. He started yelling at us and screamign at us, “I need cash! You are not helping me, if I don’t get cash!” My ministry partnet told him “what you need to say is thank you”.

    This week I had to tell someone that we are not going to give him gas for his car for a while. He kept on bringign different peopel in whith different needs, and somehow they always needs gas, but refused our food or to come to a bible study or church service.

  8. I was just reading your latest blog and it reminded me of our honeymoon in TN. My wife and I decided to take a route that would put us in North Carolina and have ourselves a little adventure.

    We were walking the streets of some major city (Charlotte im not sure) when as erin and I were walking holding hands this man decides to stand in our way. He says something to the effect of “I need money for my wife’s eye surgery.” So I in an epic moment of stupidity open my wallet (complete with all vacation money) in front of the guy and give him 20.00 and go on our merry way. We were met by his “wife” a few buildings down asking for money for HIS surgery. Classic…the missus still
    doesn’t let me live it down

  9. Kev,

    I am so glad you went ahead and shared your blundering with us all. I was worried it was a story you would tell only me. It was took good. I have done similar things. Given and later thought that you probably got hosed.

    But you didn’t say what you said to her? Did you say, “Actually can I get a 20 from you I just gave a twenty to your husband?”

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