Sunday, 26 June 2016

Why I give to those who squander

Love- 
:unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. - Merriam Webster
:a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. - Dictionary.com





I've spent a good portion of my life being overwhelmed with this desire and need to give to the homeless. This ache at every corner or underpass, to give whatever I have in my pockets. This weight, while I'm fully aware of where it comes from now, was often times a burden. I was reprimanded and heard countless logical and honest reasons for not giving into this impulse. Most of them stemming behind the fact that these recipients were utterly undeserving because they would either buy alcohol and drugs or because they would simply squander whatever came their way.

As I've grown in my faith this ache or desire, this burden, has only deepened. The more I spend getting to know the God I follow and trust the more I feel all those "logical" voices float away with my youth.

I will never cease to give, especially to those who will squander.

As I've spent the past few months helping to make and handout lunches to the homeless and poor in our city I've encountered a kind of beauty I've never seen before. In the dirty and vulgar parking lot of downtown I've seen Jesus shine brighter than the cleanest and most transcendent landscapes.




I've seen the hands of Christ on the tired and hurried volunteers and the cry of Christ to lay ourselves down for those precious and dear to him, in the eyes of the lost and needy.



The ones who squander, the ones who get by on the backs of the middle class, the ones who we deem a burden and undeserving are the ones that I will give the most to. Be it my money, my time, or my love, hopefully all three.

I will tell you quite simply why I give. I can come at you with endless pages of scripture telling us to give to the needy and the poor and I know you will come back at me with countless rebuttals. So that's why I will tell you what has set my heart firm on this.

I give to those who squander because I am of the greatest who squander, what I so greatly don't deserve. 

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst." -Timothy 1:15

I have spent years of my life playing this game with God. I wander away and play with fire, I get burned, and then I come crawling back into his ever waiting arms to be bandaged up again. Not only do I continue to take advantage of his endless grace but as he tirelessy pours out more love, more grace, more forgiveness, I choose to do it my way despite. I can't even begin to list the countless things God has done in my life, some life saving, and I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've been ungrateful and have used His good for my gain.

"All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all." -Isaiah 53:6

I do not deserve God's constant handouts, I don't deserve his brown bag lunches and get out of jail free cards. Just like the dust covered, bearded guy on the side of the road with empty bottle in hand doesn't deserve my money, my time, and my love. But God didn't give to me because I deserved it and I don't give to them because they do either. He gave everything, up to His own life, simply because He loves me. And that is why I am not burdened, but am blessed to do the same. I can give to those who will use my money wisely, I can give to those who will cherish my time, I can give to those who will beam with my love, and don't get me wrong I won't withhold from them either, but that's not where I'm shining the true character of Jesus the most.

Giving looks like Jesus when it looks messy, undeserved, and when it costs me something great.

I don't give because I feel "called" to this, I don't give because I'm checking off a box, and I certainly don't give because I need to reserve a parking space in heaven. I give because Jesus loved me first and asked me to do the same.

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."-Romans 5:8

He came and loved us so deeply that he died for us, not because we would eventually choose him but while we were STILL sinners and still may never choose Him. It wasn't because we were going to use the handout wisely or use it to get our souls out of poverty. He gave just because He loves us, even if we continue to squander it. 

The most dangerous prayer I have prayed has been one of asking for a heart like Christ, to love as He loves, directed at those He loves.

This prayer has realigned my vision to the outcast, to the underserving, and to the ones who may never be grateful for it. And this love isn't one I can explain, it goes deep into my core and scratches at my bones.
It's a love I can ignore in the business of life, in my selfish pursuits, and when I'm straying from God but when I'm experiencing this love it fills me, flows through me, and pours out all around me. This is a supernatural love that stems solely from Jesus in me.

To live out this love comes at a cost, but one so worth giving.


“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." -John 15:12




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photo credit: A Scarcity of Caring via photopin (license)
photo credit: via photopin (license)

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