Generosity Must Be Guided By Conscience

NEED GAS

That was the sign an attractive young woman was holding when we passed a Lawrence filling station.

The next day, we were at a city department store when a skinny fellow walked up to us out of the blue: “Would you give me a dollar for gas?” We truthfully replied that we didn’t have any cash.

Three weeks earlier, a woman made us jump a bit as we were gassing the car: “I need some money for gas to get to Kansas City.”

Being naïve, we gave her four dollars. It would hardly buy a gallon, but looking back, we’re glad that’s all we had.

Finally, we’ve come to our senses that these people have a racket going. And, obviously, generous soles are biting.

To make it even worse, they might not be out of gas. They might use the cash for smokes or booze. The one woman did have cigarettes hanging out her hip pocket.

Now, we want to help those in need, but this is getting out of hand.

We’ve seen people holding signs: “Hungry Need Money For Food.”

But, we’re told that some of those when offered a loaf of bread, a candy bar or even a meal will refuse, insisting on money. Obviously, they aren’t very hungry.

There are some who propose to “Work For Food.” We’ve never had an opportunity to take them up, but we’d gladly do that if the opportunity arose.

Now, we’re hearing stories about people who make a living begging to get money for food, gas or whatever else. That’s their profession.

So, what is a person to do? The people could be in a tough predicament and definitely need our assistance. Yet, they might be ripping us off.

One can try to find out the whole story, and then make a decision. Or, give to everyone. Or, give to none. Most important is to satisfy our own conscience.

Reminds us of, as quoted before, Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Likewise, Proverbs 19:17: “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”

Perhaps, we should follow Matthew 5:42: “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”