Missions Misunderstood » Blog Archive » The Least Of These

Posted February 25th, 2008 by E. Goodman

So there’s a homeless guy that you see around town pretty often. One day, he approaches you on the street, asking for money. You compassionately give him a couple bucks.

You know, the “least of these” and all that.

The very next day, you see that same homeless guy sitting on a park bench, obviously drunk, with a beer in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. He’s still begging, but since he’s intoxicated, he’s pretty aggressive about it. Do you ever give him more money?

Surely someone would claim “stewardship,” saying that it wouldn’t be very responsible of us to continue “wasting” money on someone who obviously doesn’t use it wisely.

Do the actions of others ever release us from our responsibilities as Christ-followers? Did the homeless guy deserve our help this first time, but not the next? Can accountability exist outside of a personal relationship? What is our motivation for generosity?

I believe that missional living requires that we demonstrate what it might be like to live in a right relationship with the world around us. The proper way to relate to sin it to confess it, repent from it, and run from it. The right relationship with all people is love.

What is the right relationship to a stranger in need?

Today I gave 20 euros (which, considering the current exchange rate, is something like $600 US dollars) to a homeless man who “lives” around our neighborhood. He was drunk, and had a cigarette in one hand. Giving felt like the right thing for me to do, but it really bothered me that the man didn’t seem to appreciate it.

Filed under:Ministry, Relationships, Social Action