For most of my adult life I faced a quandary most of us have faced. At some point in our lives we have been asked for a hand-out by a street person, homeless person or pan-handler. I think that I have gone through all of the responses. Earlier in my life, I was mostly of the mind that these people need to get a job and I felt a bit resentful. Then the more I was confronted by the situation the more confused I became, thinking, ‘well if this person really is desperate enough to beg on the streets, I really should help – I mean it’s only a couple of bucks?’ And then I would hear about a perfectly able-bodied guy who was scamming people pan-handling all his life now able to send two kids to Ivy League schools, and I would become cynical again. Finally, I read Matthew 25:35:
“…for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in;36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? Or athirst, and gave thee drink? 38 And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, you did it for me…”
I came to realize that if I was being scammed, the scammer was the one with the problem, not me. I was simply doing what Christ would want me to do. And yes, there may be some scammers out there, but more than likely they are actually (the King) Jesus Christ in the person of one of His brethren, and He needs my help. I’m not sure about you, but I not capable of telling who is who – scammer or savior, so now I try to give to all, knowing that all are indeed my brethren. And so I have resolved – January 1, 2013.