What is our ultimate attitude toward helping those who are in need? I’m not saying this is your attitude, but this is how most Christians, including myself, come across to me. Most Christians seem to have this belief that 10% of their income belongs to God to be given to the local church, then if you want to give an offering to the poor or other special projects, it must be over and above that 10%. I admit, this is almost exactly how I give my offerings. But is there anything biblical about this? I believe there are good Biblical grounds to tithe, that is, give 10% to the LORD. But where is that 10% to be given?
The Bible makes it clear that anything we give to another person in the name of Christ, it is as if we gave it to Christ Himself. That was one of the points in the lesson I posted "He who gathered much had nothing over, he who gathered little had no lack." But as a wage earner who pays his fare share of social security, I already support those in need. You can literally drive yourself bonkers thinking about all the different factors in today’s society. That’s why the main issue boils down to one of attitude.
Is my attitude one of, "That’s not my problem, I gave at the office." Through my workplace, I can allocate a certain amount from my check to go toward any number of charities. I wouldn’t even have to think about it from week to week. That’s one of the main selling points that United Way stresses. Just sign up and it will be automatic.
World Vision does a great work. You can sponsor children in another country for a small amount of money each month. We’ve all heard the advertisements. We’ve seen the pictures of the children. We’ve heard their testimonies. They tell us, "You will make a difference in Jesus’ name."
There is a fellow that I work with who does not attend church or live his life for the LORD. He was so insistent one day on telling me all about how he could make a difference by giving money to this charity which helped needy children throughout the world. He really was convinced if he just sent this money to this certain organization, that he would be making the world a better place. This particular person has very little contact with anyone outside of work. When talking with him about getting involved in people’s lives, he continued to insist that giving people money was the answer.
What is your attitude? Do you think you can just throw some money in the offering plate and consider your responsibility to those in need to be fulfilled? Have you ever taken the time to get to know someone in need? Or is that someone else’s job? Do you consider yourself to be in a higher social class than those who would be considered needy? Is there a wall preventing you from developing a friendship with a Christian brother or sister who has significantly less than you?
I’ll close this post with a little story that happened probably ten years ago. In the Sunday School class I was attending, it was pretty much young married couples who would be considered middle class. The pastor was going over the book In His Steps from whence we get the phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" The book has two basic settings. There is the small, suburban church at the beginning, but then about halfway through the book, the message of "What Would Jesus Do?" is spread to an inner city church, I believe in Chicago. Many of the social issues come to the forefront as the shift moves to the inner city church.
The pastor pointed out a particular part of the story and asked the question, "Would Jesus go on welfare?" A lady answered, "I could never go on welfare because it would make me feel yucky." After a bit more discussion, I made a quite sharp comment, although at the time, I really didn’t think it was that sharp. I said, "So-and-so says that she couldn’t go on welfare because it would make her feel yucky. That means that she thinks that people that are on welfare are yucky. But we can’t judge them." I didn’t say the comment rudely, and this lady and I remain friends to this day. But I stand by that comment.
I guess I’ve been wrestling with this issue for a good ten years – now that I think about it.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman