Saturday, March 14, 2009

giving

lessons from rocup :: part 4

One of the ideas that played an important role in our whole group's growth during rocup was that the difference between child-like giving and adult giving.  It basically describes the difference between giving a man a fish and teaching him how to fish.

Both forms of generosity are good.  It is good to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.  It's even commanded.  But it's a more mature kind of generosity to not only feed the hungry man but prepare and equip him so that he will be able to feed himself moving forward.  This kind of process-generosity is hard, because it requires more investment of time and relationship.  We want to be people who give in both ways -- as a child in simplicity, and as an adult in maturity.

5 comments:

tim flanders said...

This is something our house just dealt with big time this past week. Our new neighbor had a bunch of emergencies and we ended up loaning her $130. We resolved today to never give out money but instead to become more connected with Church of the larger GR community that we can connect people with so that they can receive real help.

This is tough subject for me because I am really a child giver a lot of times. I feel hypocritical not giving because I view the beggars as Christ Himself and I feel like I'm being distrustful when I buy them a meal instead of giving them cash. The thing I do believe in however, is at least talking to them and getting their story and going more in depth, seeing Christ in them.

-t

inos said...

Tim - check back in with me in a month or two and let me know how the new strategy is working.

I'm not sure that a rule to never give out money directly is the best solution... but I hope to learn from your experience.

Joshua said...

Some thoughts that Tim's comments have inspired in me:

1) Never loan money. I've learned that if people need money, it's best to just give it. When we loan, we open a door for conflict. The selflessness of giving is much more rewarding anyway.

2) There are alternative methods of giving. I've always been told to "never give cash, they'll just buy alcohol". Yeah, maybe, but what if they won't? I can't take that risk. I would give the money and share the Gospel, just as Tim mentioned. But you can also invest in gift cards to area shops/stores to give if you run into someone. It might seem weird, but if someone approaches you and needs money for food, buy them dinner and then give them cash, that way they are fed and even if they go buy alcohol, at least you met a real need in their life.

Just some thoughts.

inos said...

Joshua - I'm not convinced that giving is better than loaning.

Check out Deuteronomy 15. I believe that teaching financial responsibility is important, and that owing something to someone you know can be an important lesson.

So, I think I would give money on the condition that it be payed back in seven years (or whatever a reasonable time is, if smaller), and if it isn't payed back, the debit is canceled.

This has no impact if you give to someone that you have no relationship with. And I think that relationship is more valuable that the gift itself.

Joshua said...

Does that passage explicitly say it is better to lend than to give? I'd prefer to give directly, rather than loan.