“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42)
- Should we suspend discernment and hand over money to anyone who asks for it?
- Should we be concerned about cultivating irresponsibility or laziness by offering hand outs?
- Is Jesus teaching us to be careless with our resources or to help others in ways that do not really help them?
Insight from Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“Our Lord does not encourage us here to help frauds or professional beggars or drunkards. I put it like this plainly because we all have these experiences. A man comes to you under the influence of alcohol and asks you to give him some money. Although he says it’s for a night’s lodging, you know he will go immediately and spend it on drink. Our Lord does not tell us to encourage or help such a man. He is not even considering that. What He is considering is the tendency of a man because of self, and a self-centered spirit, not to help those who are in real need. It is this holding on to what is mine that He is concerned about.”
“We can therefore put it like this. We must always be ready to listen and to give to a man the benefit of the doubt. It is not something we do mechanically or thoughtlessly. We must think, and say: ‘If this man is in need, it is my business to help him if I am in a position to do so. I may be taking a risk, but if he is in need I will help him.’ The apostle John gives us a perfect exposition of this. ‘But whoso hath this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his compassion from him, how does the love of God dwell in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth’ (I Jn. 3:17, 18). That is the way we are to follow. ‘Whoever has this world’s good, and sees his brother have need.’”
“The man under the influence of drink who asks us for money is not in need, neither is the man who lives by this sort of thing and is too lazy to work. Paul says of such: ‘If any would not work, neither should he eat.’ So your professional beggar is not in need and I do not give to him. But if I see that my brother is in need and I have this world’s goods and am in a position to help him, I must not shut up my compassion from him, because, if I do, the love of God is not in me. The love of God is a love that gives of itself in order to help and strengthen those who are in need.” (Sermon on the Mount, pp.288-289).