The parable in Luke 16 of Lazarus corresponds to the person who begs in our modern society, and there are far more of them today than in biblical times. If we’re honest, we have to admit that sometimes we’re uncomfortable looking them in the eyes. We avoid the exchange, because it forces us to grapple with how the person who begs will use the money we give them. Will they use it for its intended purpose, which is to help nourish their bodies with food, or are they lying for the benefit of whatever addiction or habit they might have? As followers of Christ, of course, we want to be compassionate individuals, but there’s a way to do it that is best for the person in need and for us as well.
Jesus tells us in Luke 16 that there was a certain rich man who fabulously adorned himself in the best of the best. Lazarus was a poor man who was covered with sores, and laid at the rich man’s gate begging for scraps from his table. In Luke 6:20, Jesus said that the poor are indeed blessed, because theirs is the Kingdom of God. No doubt God’s heart is moved by the humility of the poor, and His Word tells us that only those that are humble will enter His Kingdom. Lazarus must have been a person that pleased God, because when he died, he was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man died too. Luke 16:23 tells us that his soul went to the place of the dead, and there, his soul was in torment.
Luke 16:24-26(NLT) states, “24 The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ 25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’” We would do well to remember that many people have material wealth, but are wicked in their hearts because they refuse to be generous. Jesus Christ reminds us of their peril in Luke 16, by telling us that the rich man had much, but shared little; greed dominated his heart, and that’s why he called hell his eternal home.
2Corinthians 9:7 tells us that God loves a cheerful giver, because this is a person whose love of sharing and giving is genuine from the heart. I considered myself such a person, someone who loves to give, but there came a time when I had to reexamine both my motives and attitudes about giving.
Frequently, I’m in an environment where I’m in regular contact with those in need, and sometimes their need is overwhelming. Over the years, I learned the hard way that the desire to be a good Christian and citizen can sometimes place us in harm’s way. This was not so much the case back in the day. It was not nearly as dangerous as it can be in modern times to lend a helping hand. I speak from personal experience as a not-so schooled giver, someone that gave money regularly to anyone that asked. I was sometimes targeted, and caught off guard when I was alone.
The times are very different than long ago, but we can’t use this as an excuse for not giving to those in need. That would be a humongous and detrimental error. As with just about every other facet of life, we have to be smarter about how we give of our resources. 1Samuel 16:7(KJV) tells us, “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” God is concerned with our heart’s motivation for giving, and this is a piece of wisdom we should bear in mind continually. He knows that we desire to please Him, and pleasing Him means that we try to be wise stewards of our resources. In other words, we need to be both wise and cheerful givers.
A good giving strategy is to pray first, hear secondly, and lastly, think it through. God knows those in need better than we do, and He also knows those individuals that will benefit most from our help. We must never forget that we’re in partnership with Him, but we are to follow His lead. Praying about opportunities to give and be a blessing, and then hearing from God, will prepare us best to be doers of His Will. As we think it through, the Holy Spirit will whisper messages of inspiration that will help us. The area of giving and sharing with those in need is no different than any other assignment of God; it must be done, and leaning on His divine guidance will help us do it with love and wisdom.■
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
“God Loves A Cheerful Giver” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!