1 John 3:17 share your material possession with your brothers in need but if you that brother is a bum/ lazy/ or has a cheating tendency would you share?

(Kenny Chen) #1

Like the title above. We have people in need sometimes even close relatives coming for help but deep inside you know they just going to squandered it or even gamble it or naivily invest in a scam. Would you give your money to them?

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(Kathleen) #2

Hi, @Kenny_Chen! It’s a very interesting question you have posed, and I suppose one place to start is to establish whether or not there can be a blanket yes-or-no answer to that question. I myself would see this as a situational decision. It may be the right thing at some point to give money and at another point to with-hold. There may be certain things one is willing to pay for (food, healthcare, needs of any dependent children, etc.) while refusing to fund other endeavours (gambling, unwise investing, alcohol, drugs, etc). Christians are challenged by Our Lord and called to be generous, forgiving, hospitable, loving, but doing those things well (or even ‘properly’) may not look like what we initially think it should. We hold each other to account, so if there is a brother/sister asking for money, he/she would need to be accountable for how they use the money. I do think it can be unloving to just give without thought or care for how it will be spent.

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(Kenny Chen) #3

Hi Kathleen, I would like really like to provide real life examples but rather not. My question posed is more on those repeated “beggars”, those who ask but never change and keep asking again and again some times with broken promises but the worst of all are these people are not strangers. It is easy to say situational but it is hard to say no when the bible says that these are the people Christ wanted save and need love the most. And yet we know that sharing material possession with them would not save them or bringing them back to Christ for the lost ones. Saying this, sharing the possession is show the love of Christ but at the same time knowing you are being taken advantage of is also a form of Love. So are we suppose to give what we have even thou we know we are being taken advantage of in order to show the love of Christ in us? The prodigal son parable stop only at the point when he return. If continued and the disobedient son steals again and run away then come back the second, the third and the fourth, what manner reception will that be, especially the other brother having lost half of the property in the first then stolen on the second and the third and fourth. Do we finally abandoned the disobedient son after ‘n’ times?

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(Mashinkah Bahston) #4

Yes, but I don’t give to serial beggars who I know are peddling for a living. If I know they are high and hustling then no. But if someone needed help and I could then I would ask the LORD. Unless he already is tugging at my heart. I figure in these cases God knows the person and it’s not up to me to judge. But to give from what I have. Not a perfect plan.

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(Kenny Chen) #5

See that’s the thing about tugging at the heart. The fact and truth remains that these people are desperate, need help, and in real deep debt pit but no matter how many times money can save them from it they keep falling back into it again. Unlike those on the streets where most are running a syndicate of getting rich from sympathy, the cheaters show a falsehood of the condition they are in now as a trade tool. I’m not referring to them but people who are really in the state of desperation, deep debt pit, hope of wining the lottery number, or cheated in a scammed investment and who are relatives/ close friends/ once a member of the church. These real people and their lives will keep tugging at your heart whether God says so or not. The thing is the moment you give and show your love, the news will spread in town and more will come until you will get fed up and close your heart or until you run dry of your possession leaving nothing for your own family. And you do run dry fast whether you’re rich or middle income because of the oceans of people who needs help are more than the lake of people who are doing well. I guess I need to rephrase my question, would you “keep on” sharing until the end?

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(Matt Western) #6

Hi Kenny,
this sounds like a difficult situation, and it sounds like the people who are asking for your help are people you care about.

I know that I would be frustrated too, having learnt fairly reasonable good money habits from my parents, if I could see people I care about making really unwise financial decisions over and over, especially if they are family or church family members.

You mention “the moment you give and show your love, the news will spread in town and more will come until you run out of ability to give (either through exhaustion of both yourself or your money)”.

Could a solution to this be as Jesus said in Matthew 6:3 " But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing ."’ ‘, (ie, slip some money in the church offering plate designated to a particular person, or if a particular person has repeatedly spent cash on gambling/drugs or other destructive things mention to the pastor you want to help person x pay for item x (food?) but don’t want to give them cash because you are concerned they can’t handle cash appropriately’.

Then as it says in Matthew 6:4; nobody knows except God, and as the promise says, God who sees you in secret will reward you openly. You are ‘laying up for yourself treasure in heaven’ as Matthew 6:19-20 says. And the encouraging thing is, if we are good stewards of what we currently posses, it may be that God will trust us with more.

I’ve heard an Andy Stanley message give what seems to be a balanced view of giving - a percentage is good, start small and make it sustainable. But he then gave an interesting story of carrying your own burdens vs carrying the burdens of others in Galatians 6:2 and 6:5 – if you are watering your neighbours garden and making their lawn nice and green but yours is full of weeds then you have your priorities out of balance. You need to learn to carry your own load first (normal everyday life things like keeping a job, paying your bills, looking after your family), and then you can help carry another’s burdens (that is help with major life trauma like death, serious illness, huge life events that nobody can carry alone and need help with). He warned against carrying another’s everyday load because you’re enabling them to be irresponsible, and your depleting your own family at their expense.

He said he doesn’t preach on giving a tithe because then people get the idea that 10% is God’s and 90% is mine to spend on myself. Everything has been given by God to us (our health, and our personal skills so we can earn a decent wage, our temperament towards money whereby we can be wise with it)

John Lennox is my favourite speaker and author and he just gave a talk on wealth, stewardship and eternity: https://connect.rzim.org/t/parable-of-the-dishonest-manager-lennox-on-wealth-stewardship-and-eternity/

Also, there is an interesting discussion about the Widow’s Mite and giving which may be of interest too…
https://connect.rzim.org/t/the-widows-mite-sacrificial-giving-or-highway-robbery

I hope this is encouraging to you… :slight_smile: It sounds like you really care about the people who need your help.
Matt

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(Joshua Spare) #7

Hey @Kenny_Chen ,

This is an incredibly difficult situation to be in, and I will pray for you that God pours out His wisdom and grace upon you as you consider how best to handle this situation.

One of the books that I have found most informative and most challenging is a book called Ministries of Mercy by Tim Keller. One helpful idea that comes from this book when determining when it is no longer helpful to be giving is “to let mercy limit mercy,” which is to say “We may cut off aid only if it is unmerciful to continue it.” I’ve found this a very helpful principle of wisdom by which to attempt to best assess these types of situations. It doesn’t lead to a hard and fast answer, but it does, I think, show how God’s heart of love for each of us can lead to allowing us to endure some consequences and repercussions if it is ultimately more beneficial to do so.

In all honesty, I really just want to quote Keller’s whole chapter, if not the whole book, here, as it has been immensely challenging and immensely beneficial to me, so if you are able, that might be a resource well worth picking up.

Again, my heart goes out to you, and I will be praying for wisdom for you as you attempt to discern what dispensing mercy looks like in this situation.

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(Kenny Chen) #8

Thank you everyone for replying to my topic. Truly changes my paradigm after reading the linked references and exploring through the forum. I had always the notion that what we earn belongs to us and that the covenant of 10% is required to give to God while we may choose how we use up the 90% remaining possession with our own judgement or with God’s guidance. However after the shift, it seems we never owned anything and we do not earn anything. Everything was given by God’s grace and the possession we have in us is a stewardship to manage it properly by God’s instructions. Whoever abuses those possession, whether be it the steward or the receiver, will be judged by God alone.

It is also never wrong to ask for help when in difficulties especially financially. Pride of the receiver is also another matter in such cases and it should not hinder the ability of those who want to give. Probably the situation was caused by having to carry the burden alone, but if the burden is shared among many others then it won’t be a burden at all.

As I was writing this I also stumble upon Matthew 18 and reading the comment reply. When giving is actually harmful then it should stopped. With that said good stewardship accounts that every giving should have a minimal criteria to qualify and conditions to achieve. Failing both is actually bad management, or rather bad investment. I believe now that this can also be considered as heavenly investment.

Thank you again. Much wisdom is needed and will continue look closer at the Word to find and share.

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