… I see a homeless man and offer to buy him food instead of giving him money. This is not charity. If the alms I offer are under conditional terms, this to me is not true charity. Have you ever had to decide between foregoing a meal due to a financial obligation else where? I have. I am in no position to judge.
What if this hypothetical destitute individual has a cell phone, or even a laptop? Does that make them any less poor? How much of their dignity must be completely stripped before I deem them worthy of my one dollar alms?
Now my charitable act has turned into sin of pride and judgment. I have a dollar but get to determine if you are worthy to receive it. Certainly this is not charity. I am eternally grateful that Christ on Calvary did not use this same measure of value with our salvation, as we are all unworthy to receive Him… but only say the world and I shall be healed.
And here’s the real stinker… if this homeless person before me, with his hand outstretched, does indeed have plans to buy a pack of cigarettes or a 40 ounce of Schlitz then who am I to deny a poor man what may be his only comfort from living on the streets!
What a poor man does with what he is given is not my responsibility. My only responsibility, and the one I am ultimately judged on, is to provide where there exists a need and to give with love, not with judgment. A dollar now is surely worth more than begging Lazarus later for a drip of water from the depths of hell.