Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To give or not to give...

I consider myself a pretty generous person.  I was raised to give to the church and I feel that charity is important.  But there is something deeper.  It is along the lines of "you are blessed to be a blessing."  I have struggled in the past to come to terms with the fact that I have much more than I need.  Sure I have had my share of crapiness in my life but I have never gone to bed hungry because we didn't have food or wondered where the house payment was going to come from.  So from time to time I get this feeling from out of no where that I am not giving or doing enough for others.

I have been in the season of life (for the last 17 years) where raising the kids is part of my mission field, since I don't have tons of time to dedicate outside of the home. (I do volunteer as I am able to causes that help prevent child abuse or in the schools). I am trying to raise these boys to end up as productive parts of society and part of that, I feel, is demonstrating for them the importance of giving back in some capacity.  Some people have tons of money to give, others  have time but limited resources.  Every one has something to give in some capacity.  So I try to start discussions with the kids about people we see and ways we might be able to help.

Which brings me to the question, to give or not?  I have recently been approached by a family member asking for money for a car.  Said family member has also asked my dad for money for a lawyer.  In that case dad is sending the money directly to the lawyer so it doesn't get spent on anything else.  My problem is that the family member does not have a driver's license and so shouldn't be driving a car.  And if I do decide to donate to the car fund (knowing I should make it a gift and not expect repayment) do I give them the money or make arrangements to pay directly for the vehicle? There is more to this story but we won't go into the gory details here...

Another instance where the twinge of guilt? (if that is what it is) was last week at Wal-Mart.  #2 son and I were getting out of the car when a man approached us. His car was parked facing us in the next row. There was a woman and a couple of kids sitting in the car with the doors open.  He asked if we had a gas can, he ran out of gas. Of course, I didn't have one and he apologized for asking.  We went in and wandered around the store for a while.  I kept thinking about the family in the parking lot.  Did he really need gas, if I got him a gas can did he he have money for gas, if he had money for gas, then why didn't he come into the store and buy a gas can then walk across the parking lot to the gas station?  Maybe he was just looking for a handout or needed drug money and was using his kids to make people feel sorry for him.  Then I feel bad for going there, but in reality it happens too often.  So which feeling was right, the I should I help feeling or the intuition that this wasn't as he stated?  I will never know because when we left they were no longer there.  Maybe someone else helped them or I was right to be suspicious.

What do you do to give back?  Do you give money to pan handlers, what is your position on this? Just a little food for thought. Remember: You are blessed to be a blessing! 

2 Corinthians 9:8 8 And God can give you more blessings than you need. Then you will always have plenty of everything—enough to give to every good work. (NCV)

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