The decisions we have to make about who to help and whether we are actually helping or enabling are often very difficult and heart wrenching. Our first thoughts as a Christian are to help everyone, but not everyone gets helped when we think we are helping.
There was the man on the side of the road with that sign, you know the one that says "Need work" or "No food". We all have differing opinions as to what to do, but quite possibly helping that person randomly when the Spirit speaks to us is obedience that transcends a perceived notion, and may be benefiting us as well to do it. What we did was right, what they do with it is between them and God.
Do you remember that scripture in Matthew that ends with "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me"? Well this week a couple asked me for a tent to protect them while in the woods after recent relapses - I said no. (Next day they bought their own tent) Then they asked me for food, which we provided enough to last until Monday when they can get to a rehab, and only after I spoke at length with both of them.
Here's a key to making a difference. Think the way God responds to our prayers: he doesn't always give us what we want, but he supplies what we need. And, when you think of it, he knows we may squander some or all of what he gives us, but he gives it to us anyway, whether as a test or because he just loves to give.
Get to know the recipient of your gift if possible, then you will know what they may do with it. And if they don't use it wisely, then we learn, but we also ring up credits with the ultimate giver who is smiling I am sure when we act like Him.
Who knows, by giving we may actually be making more of a difference in ourselves!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.