Daja talks about her husband Gana, who is a seminary student in California. Gana feels convicted to give money to people who ask him, and it's a testimony to what Jesus is doing in his life. I can tell you quite honestly that often folks in general do NOT give in many other situations not because they're afraid the homeless bum is going to buy a bottle of beer with the money, but because they don't want to give the money. Can we be honest here a sec?
I mean, how often have we heard impassioned pleas from this or that ministry on Christian radio to give? Surely we're not afraid of our $50 contribution getting spent entirely on crack and beer. Maybe the president of "Whatever" Christian Ministry might buy a bottle of beer on a Saturday when he's at the local sports bar eating a cheeseburger (horrors!), but the ministry's books are gone over regularly. There are actually independent auditing associations that do these things, and it means your money has a better chance of being used properly than when you toss a couple bucks into a bucket to "send a kid to camp."
Come on, you have *no idea* who these kids are, and you never thought camp was important, but you just felt dorky passing them by without giving something. It had nothing to do with how generous you were that day. Just saying. I've done that, too. Have you bought their candy bars when you were dieting? Or more likely, I've NOT given, walked by, and just felt badly about it. But I don't think I *should* feel badly if I honestly think it's not where I want my money going.
My point being, we're asked for money ALL THE TIME. It just isn't quite so directly. The "Whatever" Christian Ministry president is just not on the street corner going, "I really need two bucks from you, and five thousand other people, to make this ministry run one more day. Can you help?"
But you hear his plea anyway. You heard him on the radio and you knew he meant that this means YOU, too.
Of course, in a marriage, it's slightly more complicated. You want new kitchen windows and a playground set. You've been talking about them for years. Your husband wants to be able to pay all the bills, and have a little left over for savings "just in case" something bad happens. And you want to be generous. I like to give money to charity through organizations I trust, though when you give your year's giving all at once, you see you are really giving up your new windows and playground area so someone else has a warm bed to sleep in.
And that's ok. Everyone SHOULD have a warm bed to sleep in. Though come to think of it, our giving perhaps should not only be to those who are "deserving." The president of City Union Mission said it well, and I'm going to loosely quote him here. He said that Jesus commanded that we give to the poor, not that we evaluate which poor are deserving of a second or third chance. He commanded that we give to the poor.
I like that. But I also like that when we give to organizations like this, that there are intake people who make sure the money goes to the beds and the food and the dental care. I feel perhaps it's paternalistic of me to feel *I* know better than the charity recipient how to spend the money... but then again, if I'm giving the money for a meal and a bed, I want it spent on a meal and a bed.
Part of the reason I don't like government programs for the poor. Just hear my heart here. YES, I am selfish with my money sometimes. But I want the warm blanket money spent on warm blankets and not some political junket to Argentina. And when I "give" money to my government, I don't feel so assured that it's spent wisely. I can't just change charities the following year if I am unhappy with how things are done.
Ok. I have a cute, cute, cute little two-year-old autistic son. My goodness, you could put that little punkin on a poster and he'd probably generate some income for your fave autism charity. What kind of giving do you think 50-year-old autistics engender from the general public? Sorry, but they're just not cute any more. Guess people would rather give to homeless dogs and kittens and find the puppsie-wuppsies a home-sy wome-sy.
Sigh. Maybe I should have more faith in the human family than that. But I wonder what kind of world Woodjie will live in later.