For the most part of my life as a Jehovah’s Witness I would turn away rejecting beggars and pan handlers viewing them as bums. If I saw them smoking or over weight I really felt justified in rejecting them. I had more respect for the guy who said, “hey, I’ll be honest, I want to buy a beer”… I would likely then give him a buck. Thank God I am not the same person I used to be. Now, if I see someone asking for a handout or a buck I will give it to them. I no longer will pass these people up. Even if I see them smoking or over weight. However, If I notice they are drunk, I will go get them something to eat and not give them money. I felt justified not giving because raised as a JW we were taught to focus on preaching the “good news” and not taking care of the poor or giving to those who ask. Sense not reading the Watchtower and reading the Bible more, my attitude on these matters have changed. Jesus didn’t tell us to size up the person asking them what they were going to do with the money. He didn’t say, “be sure you don’t give money to a filthy sinner”. He taught us to give freely from the heart to anyone who asks. At least that is the way I take his words in the Bible. As far as being worried that someone might buy booze or cigarettes, many places such as Mcdonalds have gift cards that can be purchased and given away.
I am not trying to toot my horn here or say “look at me I follow Christ commands and give to the poor”. I don’t have much to give to be honest but if I have a buck and see someone asking for it they get it. These days I feel guilty if I don’t. To me it is not worth a buck or a meal to feel the guilt I get if I do not share so I try to give from my heart or it really doesn’t count with God. At Matthew 25:34-40 we read, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
It is very clear how Jesus is going to judge us. He will judge us by our actions, not our head knowledge or doctrine in my opinion. Please notice James 1:27, “The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.” Widows and orphans cannot pay you back so the message is to help out those who are in tribulation without the expectation of receiving something back. There are many ways we can do this kind of volunteer work. Many hospitals and old folks homes are happy to allow volunteers to visit ones who are all alone or lonely. They appreciate volunteer workers. Craigslist is also a place people ask for help. Your local news paper or Chamber of Commerce may have avenues for one to donate time to a good cause. Many Churches are involved in helping the homeless. Homeless shelters need volunteers. We should be careful of any organization that will take advantage of us while paying some “not profit” officers high wages and there are many of those so be careful. Personally I volunteer to help those who are trying to quite drug and alcohol addiction and there are many and the number grows everyday. I’m not trying to blow a trumpet before me but putting out ideas.
To me it seams that so many get caught up in doctrine and debating that the real message of Jesus just doesn’t shine through. He was huge on not judging others and set the example on showing love and giving to others. He gave all and in the end his own life. He had no place to lay down his head. (Luke 9:58) Is it right to spend all of our time reading the Bible and debating and not helping others as Jesus taught us to do? If JW’s had a time card for that I wonder if they would have billions of hours a year to report? That would be fantastic! I only say this because I was a JW. I’m not trying to look down on them. They are good people for the most part and have good hearts. sadly they are focused on doing the will of the FDS and not Jesus. When talking about charity they like to quote the scripture where Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” In my opinion this is a gross misapplication of this scripture. They expect ones to donate to them and not the poor. That is why they have information on how to donate ones entire estate to the JW/org. They could help millions if they would heed Jesus words and sell their belongings and give to the poor. They have Billions of dollars in properties and stocks and bonds. They own every Kingdom Hall, assembly building and many estates that JW’s have donated. The first century Christians met in homes not “halls”. (Acts 2: 44-45)
I thought I would post a few more scriptures along these lines to see what you think about this subject. There are many more but I thought these more than suffeciant. Feel free to post your comments
Matthew 9:13, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Luke 6:29-30, “…and from him that takes away your outer garment, do not withhold even the undergarment. Give to everyone asking you, and from the one taking your things away do not ask [them] back.”
Matthew 5: 42, “Give to the one asking you, and do not turn away from one that wants to borrow from you [without interest].”
Matthew 6:1-4, “Take good care not to practice YOUR righteousness in front of men in order to be observed by them; otherwise YOU will have no reward with YOUR Father who is in the heavens. 2 Hence when you go making gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, just as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be glorified by men. Truly I say to YOU, They are having their reward in full. 3 But you, when making gifts of mercy, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4 that your gifts of mercy may be in secret; then your Father who is looking on in secret will repay you.”
Galatians 6:10, “Really, then, as long as we have time favorable for it, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to [us] in the faith.”
James 2:14-17, “Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if a certain one says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, yet a certain one of YOU says to them: “Go in peace, keep warm and well fed,” but YOU do not give them the necessities for their body, of what benefit is it? Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.”
Acts 2: 44-45, “All those who became believers were together in having all things in common, 45 and they went selling their possessions and properties and distributing the [proceeds] to all, just as anyone would have the need.” I must ask… Is there anyone doing this in the world today? I believe there might be, however I know JW’s do not practice this for sure. Why not? Has there been “new light” in this regard?
Deuteronomy 7, “In case some one of your brothers becomes poor among you in one of your cities, in your land that Jehovah your God is giving you, you must not harden your heart or be closefisted toward your poor brother.
Deuteronomy 15:11, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”
Mark 10:21, “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Luke 12:33, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”
Luke 14:13-14, “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
1 Corinthians 13:3, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
1 Timothy 6:17-18, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”