On giving

I used to very much dislike being importuned by beggars. I’d usually just ignore them, after all, the chance that they were scamming money for drugs and alcohol was not so much a possibility as a probability given the realities of “homelessness” in America.

It eventually occurred to me, however, that this sort of judgment was not for me to make. Jesus tells us to behave towards the least of our brothers as if they were him, which inherently assumes that they are NOT him and therefore fallible and prone to doing the wrong thing with whatever we happen to give them. The parable of the stewards shows that God will hold them accountable for their actions, and we are responsible solely for our own.

To give when one is asked is not compassion nor is it anything to be commended. It is simply obedience to the will of our Lord. Consider that the next time you encounter a shabby old man with his palm outstretched.