May 29

Written by Bill Grandi on May 29th, 2020

I always have mixed emotions. I struggle between compassion and hard-heartedness. You don’t find them in our little town because we don’t have an intersection going to an interstate. Or coming off one. People who panhandle. They have signs designed to catch your attention and tug at your heartstrings. Are they really in sorry shape or are they playin’ ya? As the pastor of a church we get calls for help. One guy called and he was staying at McCormick’s Creek State Park’s Canyon Inn. Expensive, even in off-season. He said his car broke down and he was having to stay the night and would we help him by paying for his room for another night? We have a much cheaper-priced hotel in town.  Aaaahhhh No.  About a week later the same voice called asking for gas for his moped to get to work. $25? I asked him if he called last week because I recognized his voice. It was the only honest thing he said. Answer: No again. Awhile back Jo & I were on our way to Ohio and stopped for gas. A guy was sitting at a pump and asked if I had money for gas. First mistake: I should have offered to pay for gas. Second mistake: giving him money for gas. He got in his car and drove away without getting gas. (Smack my head). Ironically, we were driving the interstate and maybe 20-25 miles later and guess who was in the middle with his hood up?

I’m torn because the Bible talks about helping others. About entertaining angels unawares. It tells me to give without expecting anything back. So I struggle with helping or turning my head or just saying no. Stats show many of the panhandlers work together and shuffle around and do rather well. We shouldn’t give to get; we should give to be rewarded; we shouldn’t give to get on God’s good side.

What about you? What do you do? What do you think?

“Father, give me wisdom and discernment to know if I’m being snookered or truly helping someone in need. Help me not to become jaded to helping others.”


3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oh, I’ve struggled with this same thing. We absolutely need God’s Wisdom and the gift of discerning spirits if they are in play. I hate being lied to and there are those who have protected their craft of lying to manipulate. Oh, God, help us!

  2. These situations are certainly problematic for me, too, Bill. When I suspect something is awry, I won’t give, but then that little prick of guilt haunts the back of my mind. May we all have God’s wisdom and discernment in these situations.

  3. Ed says:

    I know this struggle. God had me overcome it simply by having me imagine I am in their shoes. I’ve been baited and hooked a couple of times. One time a lady asked me for help feeding her very young children. I ended up buying dinner for them, her, her husband, her mother and father, and maybe grandmother too!
    Now I am a bit more…wary. Of course, being poor myself means that most of the time I am the one in need of a handout So what I do is I offer to but them some sandwiches and/or snacks from the grocery store.
    One time someone asked for help.. they needed a new tire for their vehicle to get to a job interview the next day. I gave them $1.50 in change and told them to take the bus.