This topic is adapted from the Keith Thompson YouTube channel.
How do you respond to people who ask for money? John Piper admits that he has gone in and out of various convictions on this subject. The older he gets, the more literally he takes the teachings of Jesus. Jesus says to give to him who asks.
Matthew 5:42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
The Judgement Day
At the judgment day, Jesus will probably never chasten us for being taken advantage of by someone who asked us for money. A reward will never be withdrawn from you because some panhandler got more from you than he should have. What we will be criticized for is justifying our stinginess, laziness, or desire for privacy by arguing that this is just going to feed a drug habit and therefore it is good to always say “no.” John Piper no longer has that peace and is inclined to give to all who ask.
The reality is that most of our lives will not be impacted if we give fifty cents or a dollar to all who ask. This could help our conscience and make us feel closer to the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount. Our contribution will probably not make their life worse. However, make a different call if you are truly persuaded that the gift you give will cause damage to that person.
Get to Know the People Who are Asking
If you live in an area where you see the same people every day on the corner, get to know them. Learn their stories. Develop relationships with them. Share the good news of Jesus with them.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Share a story of a time you did or did not give money to someone who asked.
- Do you tend to give to those who ask you on the streets or do you walk/drive by?
- Do you sometimes feel that the money you give to a person may actually cause them harm? Explain.
- Read Matthew 5:42. How does this impact your thinking on this subject?
- Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10. Do you think this verse is directed to believers only or should it also be applied to those who do not have a relationship with God?
- Are there some people that you see daily that are asking for money? Would you be willing to try to have some kind of relationship with them? If so, how would you go about doing that?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.