I have two Tim Horton cards lying about somewhere in the house. I'm not sure of where I put them and I also sort of have no plans to use them....yet. Since the day I got them, I've imagined giving it away to someone who will really appreciate it much more, rather than use them just because. (Don't' get me wrong, I love Tim Horton's! :-)).
Anyway, each time I remember the cards and the thought of giving them away comes up, I think of the homeless and the hungry stranger on the street. I imagine handing away the cards, content that I've been able to feed someone for a day and also probably given them hope. But then something else always draws me back and makes me tuck away the thought in a corner. It's the memory of 'oh, they'll just sell it off and go buy a cigarette, get drunk or worse still drugs'. And again the thought relegates to the back of my memory and I go about my business knowing that one day, I'll either end up using them or find someone who I will eventually give them to.
So today, the thought came up again with the usual response following. But then somewhere in the whole mix I heard something different. 'If God decides not to show us his love just because we'll throw it back in His face or probably still sin anyway, then does that mean he should stop? The same God lets the sun shine and the rain fall on both the good and the bad. Some people make the most of both periods while some see them as periods to commit atrocities to their advantage. Would you say the sun should shine on some and not others or vice versa?'
That instantly struck me and gave me a new perspective with something else to think about. But then being human, my own thoughts fought and screamed louder to be heard above what I believe God was trying to say. I remembered the saying that also goes, 'Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you'll feed him for life'.
So now I'm thinking: about the verse in the Bible that says the poor will always be with us(meaning you can't teach everyone to fish?), about the homeless who is homeless by choice (prefers the freedom of not having mortgage payments, etc) and the homeless who isn't by choice (delusional/paranoid, temporary setbacks, etc). I'm thinking of the druggie who looks famished and looks like he really needs some skin and the alcoholic who begs you with his life (even crying) to give him some money for food, swearing that he'll turn a new leaf and just needs something to eat; all the while knowing at the back of your mind that the cycle continues.
Now the question is, how many of these people will appreciate being taught to fish as against getting a fish for the day, survival and daily needs (or maybe wants) being first on their minds? Should I damn everything and just give, convincing myself that I've been generous to someone not daring to think about the consequences? Or should I resign them to their fate since I have tried to teach them to fish but they weren't willing? After all, I tried to do something and it wasn''t appreciated.
On the other hand, what if 'teaching to fish' becomes a stumbling block to giving just because it makes more sense and we never really get around to the 'teaching' because we don't have time or because we have it at the back of our minds that the person will survive or that someone else will teach him to fish? After all, its not really our headache since we have our own needs too and our own families to take care of.
But then when you have the heart to give but 'wisdom' makes you hesitant and analyze situations to the point of paralysis and deep down you know you want to do better what will you do? Isn't it wise to say once bitten twice shy? I mean, that guy at Ojota who you took pity on and gave fifty bucks to complete his t-fare just for you to turn around and you see him asking the next three people for the same thing using the same lines?
Simply put, if you over think and analyze, you may never really do any giving; and then on the other hand, if you do so without wisdom, you'll definitely be taken advantage of and you may even be destroying and not helping someone. So the main question then becomes, where do you draw the line?
I'd love to hear your thoughts so please drop a line or two :-)