Who Are We

Wayne, Hilary & Adelaide Denny. Preparing to Serve in Leadership Training in Senegal, Africa. God has called us to take advantage of a unique window of religious freedom in Muslim Senegal by equipping church leaders who have a heart for reaching their country and the Muslim world.

We should be jealous. . . for the honour of His name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed. And all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it.” John Stott

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Whose money is it anyways?

Life in Paris is different than life in Dallas, or probably most cities that I have ever lived in.  The last year that I lived in Dallas, I was not faced much with very poor people, those who would come up to you on the street and beg for money.  It just wasn't done where I went.  But here in Paris, it happens all the time.  On the metro, on the way to the grocery store, and definitely in the city where they know that there are lots of tourists.  And whenever I am asked for money, I always have to ask myself  "Do I give it to them?" and sometimes it's even "Do I give it to them again?  I just gave them some?"  Sadly, I think I too often err on the side of caution and don't give money  I often think "Well, what if they really don't need it but could just go get a job" or "Why are they still asking?  I just gave them something!  I think they are taking advantage of me."  

In reading Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount, I have been convicted of my attitude, specifically the attitude of not wanting to be taken advantage of.  I think that too often, I try to protect myself instead of doing what God asks me to do and letting Him take care of the results.  In Matthew 5 verses 38-42, Jesus speaks about retaliation, or I should say he speaks against retaliation.  It is here that we find the famous concept of "turn the other cheek." It is a difficult idea to put into practice for sure, but I think that most Christians know that they should do this and really do try.  But a few verses later, another concept is linked with the lack of retaliation, that is the idea of giving to beggars.  Directly following the command to turn the other cheek and give your cloak as well when someone just asks for your tunic is the command from Jesus "Give to the one who begs from you."  That's it, no caveats.  But if this isn't enough to convince you, keep reading the next section.  In this section is the famous concept of "love your enemies," but it was something else in this section that hit me.  God tells us to give and not worry about being taken advantage of because he does exactly the same thing.  "For God makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." (verse 45)  God doesn't look at where he makes it rain and decide field by field who he will give rain to and who he will not.  The rain falls on the field of the just as well as the unjust.  And when a person does something bad with a good gift that God has given them, it is as if they slap God on the cheek, and yet he still turns the other to them, still gives them good gifts. 

Now I know that there are exceptions to every rule, that in Senegal it would be impossible to give money to everyone who asks because they swarm your car every time you stop at an intersection.  But I do not want my life to focus on the exceptions.  I want to have the attitude of Christ.  I want to give without expecting anything in return, even gratitude.  I want to give in faith, trusting that God will do what he wills with my gifts.  I want to give knowing that I have done what my Father has asked of me, not worrying about the other persons actions.  I want to give not worrying what others around me think, only what my Father in heaven thinks of me.  I want to give, knowing that it is all God's money, and he will do with it as he pleases.


Mike and Christie said...

Amen to that!

When we were in Ukraine, on our last day, we still had some hgryvna's left. We decided to give them away. We walked the streets looking for the right person/people and asked God to guide us. I remember the old woman sitting on the street with no legs. We gave her money and she looked shocked. We purchased bread for her too. We knew there was a ring of beggars working the same streets and we specifically found the child who had been chastized the day before by some adults for not getting enough money. We gave him some money. We knew his family would be pleased with his "hard work". :)

Did it make a difference? I don't know... I do know they asked and we gave. And that is what scripture says to do. It doesn't say to make sure they spend it wisely. That is between them and God. :)

I see those guys in Dallas abit too.
I actually gave a guy a buck because his sign said, "I am not working for food, I am begging for money." I figured he was at least honest. :)

surfergrandma said...

Thank you Hilary for this very insightful post..it is also difficult for me to not give when I am asked...fortunatly here where we live we don't see much of that.
When we were living in Chicago, 1973 - 1988, I worked downtown in "the loop"...comutted via the train from the suburbs...then walked several blocks to my office. There was an elderly, blind man in a wheel chair that was left on one of the street corners that I passed. every day. I made it a point to stop and talk to him, ask his name, tell him mine and give him offerings take small gifts (food)..I'll never forget him...he always says goodby with "God Bless You." His name was George.
I confess, I like how it makes me feel, but beyond that I want to obey Gods teaching, and in that regard its easy to do when He lives in your heart. Anytime I do something good I feel like its coming directly from Him.
Sorry to ramble on so...but I wanted to ask your prayers for my husband...he has cancer, is undergoing radiation and chemo...is 80 years old and very sick..please check my blog for updates on him...surfergrandma.blogspot.com
Thank you,

Elizabeth Skiles said...

Amen! :) That's a lesson I've been learning at Emmaus - that even when He provides money I think I should use for my school bill, I still need to be willing to give it back to Him. :)