We can think of many reasons not to give to the guy on the street corner or in the intersection holding the sign saying “will work for food” or “my children are hungry”. He might just be a person who doesn’t want to work and who makes a living holding that sign. We cannot see into the souls of others so how can we possibly judge if they are worthy of help. We can only obey God’s commands and we have to let him deal with the outcome. We know that God just wants the hungry fed; the needy helped.
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? James 2:14-16
God says that giving to others is for our own benefit as well; it means that we are storing up treasure in heaven. (see video/opens in new window) Laying Up Treasures in Heaven
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Of course, we must be good stewards of what God has given us. However, there is a balance and only God can help us find it. God tells us that we must ‘manage our affairs with justice’ insofar as we are able. We are also to be compassionate. We may not always make the perfect decision, but shouldn’t we err on the side of giving and not miss a chance to minister in God’s name?
“Light shines in the darkness for the upright; the righteous are merciful and full of compassion. It is good for them to be generous in lending and to manage their affairs with justice… They have given freely to the poor, and their righteousness stands fast for ever; they will hold up their head with honor” Psalm 112:4-5, 9