How should a Christian respond to beggars?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
There are many opinions on the question of how to respond to beggars and panhandlers, which admittedly is a difficult one. Some people feel comfortable handing out money, believing it is then up to...

July 01 2013 13 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Shanna Duck "Let a search be made in the royal archives..." Ezra 5:17 NIV
I agree strongly with Bro. Houdmann's comment and would only like to add a few thoughts. One of our duties as Christians is to practice charity but, like the early church, we are also to use wisdom in how, when, and to whom that charity is dispensed. (That's where the Charity Navigator and other similar groups are very valuable! Not all charities are good stewards of the public's money.) As in the early church, resources are limited and God expects us to use those resources to help those who are truly in need, and there's plenty of people in real need. The early church was known even among the pagans for its kindness to the poor, but at the same time it didn't create an entitlement mentality or take away a healthy, well-bodied person's individual responsibility or incentive. 

On another vein, I think God also intends for us (especially women and young people) to practice normal safety especially in giving charity or help. There may be times when God strongly calls us into a risky situation and gives us divine protection, but I think that most of the time God intends us to use sanctified common sense. God has put inside of us (I speak for women here) an internal alarm system that goes off in the presence of danger....and we really need to heed this internal warning even when dispensing well-meaning charity. In my past career working in libraries and museums, we occasionally-at least once a week- had to deal with those with serious mental problems, drug addictions, and bad intentions, and interacting with these people can be dangerous. It is easy for friendliness to be taken the wrong way, and a woman alone does not need to offer a ride or go to a secluded area or room with a strange man, even if he seems okay. (Ask me how I know. BUT, if you find yourself in this situation, you can often smile and talk to the man WHILE walking him back toward an areas where there's more people.) At times, it really may be best to call your husband, a brother from your church or even a police officer or a rescue mission, if you have one, and ask that they investigate the situation. Also, if you give money to a panhandler, be aware of your surroundings and be sure that no one follows you to your car, or even back to your home. Of course, don't let a stranger into your home. 

I know this probably isn't exactly the direction this question may have been going, but I think it needs to be said.

October 16 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Ann Wood Retired widow.
We have many street people here in the Philippines. It is difficult to discern who is in need and who is working for a syndicate. They give these poor souls a bowl of rice and a mat to sleep on for their efforts. 
I give and know that God looks on my heart. I know everything belongs to God and I must trust HIM to weigh me in His perfect balance. I give because.....no matter what......there but for the grace of God go I.

October 17 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Terry Galloway Christ follower, Bible lover, mission of sharing the gospel
As Christians we walk by the Spirit instead of the flesh. We are sheep that listen to our Master's voice. Each day we wake up and surrender our lives to the Lord to use for His good pleasure to bring HIM glory.

I have been born again for 9 years, and I am a woman which does mean I must act wisely as mentioned by Shanna. The Lord always answers when I ask if I am to give or not. Once I was driving by a woman asleep on a bench, and He told me to make a U-turn and give her $20. I woke her up to give her the money, and it was a blessed experience. Another time, I had been in prayer for 30 minutes while my daughter was driving. When we pulled into McDonald's to change drivers, a man was right there asking for $13 to have a place to stay because he had just gotten out of prison that day. I had the discernment to know that he was telling the truth. I gave him a $20, and then God told me to give him a Life Recovery Bible. I asked him if anyone had told him in prison about Jesus. He said he had an aunt who was always praying for him to find Jesus. I told him that I had given him the money and the Bible in Jesus' name and to read it everyday and do what it says to stay out of trouble. He wanted to grab hold of my hand, and I gave him respect in Christ to hold his hand and look him in the eye. He was very grateful! I pray for Jonathan whenever I remember this "godincidence" that I will see him in heaven

Jesus wants us to walk by the power of the Holy Spirit and do what He equips us to do. When I do see people panhandling, many appearing to not be homeless at all, I give them the gift of prayer as I am to pray without ceasing and God knows their situation.

May 22 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Leo Kropf retired pastor
Responding to the poor requires discernment and wisdom. First, an understanding of what scripture defines as "poor" must be considered. Paul speaks in II THess. 3:10, If a man will not work, he shall not eat. He goes on to mention that some among the Thessalonian Christians were idle. He urges them to settle down and earn the bread they eat. The wise man says in Prov. 6:6, Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider its ways and be wise. He goes on to warn the sluggard that poverty will come on you like a bandit...I believe Jesus would have us respond to the needs, not necessarily their wants, of the poor, those downcast, unable to provide for themselves whether because of health reasons of mental capacities. Jesus made it clear that we will always have the poor with us. Our challenge is to differentiate between the poor and the lazy, the sluggard, those who believe the world owes it to them.

November 22 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Bill Gillan Father of 4 and have an amazing wife
It's a difficult one. I have always been prone to give beggars money or food without a word or mention of why I'm offering. I can recall a couple of occasions when once I gave a beggar money and then watched him go into a betting shop. Another occasion I said to someone I won't give you money but will buy you some food, they said yes please. I bought them some food and saw them try to sell it for money. 

I have been praying about how God would want me to react to beggars. Recently as I left McDonald's for my once in while breakfast treat I walked passed a beggar, I looked at him as I walked past. I was going to get a coffee from Starbucks, as I walked past him I felt God as me to go back and look at him. I did that and I saw a lost person, I saw pain in their eyes. I had a conviction in my heart "You want your flat white coffee this guy wants some food" 

I offered food, he said yes. I gave it to him he cried. Then I felt God say to me "Tell him you believe in Jesus, tell him your a Christian, tell him where your church is, tell him to come and find you and then pray for him before you leave him" I said to the beggar what I felt God told to say to him and I said now I'm going to pray for you. I was scared to be honest.

He held out his hands and asked me to pray for him, we were in the middle of a busy high street. I may not see this man again here in this world, but I may see him in heaven one day. Why? I have sown a seed which God will reap. 

Would I give to the beggar who spent my money in the bettig shop? Would I give food the beggar who then tried to sell it for money? I think I would only because the reason I'm doing so (as God revealed to me, and I have to pray for bravery) I have the opportunity to reveal to them that they have a Father in heaven who loves them so much that he wants to and will lift them out of where they are, that they are his child.

Jesus loves the beggar as much as he loves us. If we were a beggar on the street how would Jesus deal with us? He would feed us and reveal our Father to us while doing so.

Father bless you and pray for his wisdom on now we can feed others whether it be the beggar on the high street or the beggar in our church.

June 20 2015 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Brian Ansell Retired school teacher, now sell homemprovements i
Please read and understand the surely if the Good Samaritan. And remember that the man who was helped did not ask for help, he was seen to be in need of help.

Sadly, many beggars are not beggars at all but crooks. I was at a very large even in London years ago at the Royal Festival Hall with thousands of young people. At the end there were Trollies of sandwiches left, so I took a handful to give to the beggars I had seen on my way. Some said THANK YOU, some threw them back at me! They were the crooks. 

Now, if I can, I offer to by a coffee or a sandwich or both rather than money. A true beggar will want to eat and drink. A crook will want money for some other purpose. 

We are told to feed the hungry, so do that, but don't give money they may use to buy other stuff because they have enough food. Ask yourself WWJD and do it. This Christmas if you know someone in need of a Christmas dinner incite them to join your family for a meal in the warm with company. Have you ever sat up to Christmas dinner and not had enough to serve a few more people?

December 10 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Alan Rees
Deuteronomy 24 v19-21 when thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field and has forgot asheaf inthe field,thou shalt not go again to fetch it;it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for thewidow;that the Lord thy God may bless thee.When thou beatest thine olive tree, thoushalt not go over theboughs again it shall be for the stranger,for the fatherless and for the widow, now we should be like God and give more than whant to receive but be carefull were were you sou the bible says dont cast pearls to the swines. Spirit of decernment
there are people who could take advantage satan would always take 
the oppertunity to prevent you from doing what god whants you to do
thank you

October 17 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Joe cattani
A person can approach others with contempt or compassion in their hearts. Jesus or Satan will guide you from there.

October 28 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Fromberg
I look at those in need as a chance for us to practice compassion - Galatians 6:2 says - Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ

October 16 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
The Christian response to a beggar is not to give money, rather to show compassion. 

Mother Teresa, the saint of the Calcutta slums, best exemplifies true Christian compassion. Picking up the sick from the streets and bring them to a more decent place. Attempt to cure them, otherwise give them decent burial - to bring back the lost dignity of the person. Many criticized her homes as not hygienic, and that her efforts are unsuccessful. She answered back, "We are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful."

October 17 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

David goliath victory hg clr Jim Tumlinson One beggar leading others to where the bread is
Jesus said the poor will be with you always. So we can do what the bible says to do. It doesn't say how to sow but it shows what happens when we sow in different kinds of soils. The sower in Mark 4 is called a sower because that is what he does. So he just sows everywhere. It made no matter to him where his seed went. Paul planted Apollos watered but God gives the increase. When we see these unfortunate souls we can either give or not give but it is ultimately up to us. We try and justify why we don't and why we should so we don't feel guilty. There is no condemnation for those in Christ. So my thought is give when and where you want and remember he that sows bountifully we reap bountifully :)

December 15 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20131013 7200 vjd0ik Charles Gardner
Give and it shall be given back to you. What you have was given to you, not to consume on yourself totally, but to be the hand of G-d in the world. We are our brothers keeper.

October 16 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Hairy Animals
To begin with, what are beggars? Poor, homeless people, right? The Bible commands us to be kind to needy and give to the poor.

Acts 20:35 - I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Proverbs 19:17 - He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Hebrews 13:16 - But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

2 Corinthians 9:7 - Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Deuteronomy 16:17
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.

Proverbs 3:27
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Proverbs 11:24-25
There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.

Proverbs 21:26
…the righteous gives and does not hold back.

Proverbs 22:9
He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.

Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

Matthew 6:3-4
But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Mark 12:41-44
And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

Luke 3:11
And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”

Luke 6:30
Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

Acts 20:35
In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Giving food, money, time, and care is a very important priority for a Christian. We are to shine with Christ's love and be a good example. John 13-34, 1 John 4:7, and 1 Corinthians 13:13 are some good verses. John 13:35 even tells us "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

Some people refrain from giving to beggars. "Let them care for themselves," they say. "I will keep my own money." This is clearly not Biblical. We should not hold on to our money but freely give to those that need it.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake.

October 01 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

1423432125 Linda Davies Administrator
Here in South Africa we have many thousands of folks living in appalling conditions in shanty towns right across our beautiful land which is a tragic state of affairs that has arisen over the last 15-20 years or so. The poverty is horrifying and it is impossible to provide relief to each and every person, even if one wanted to. 

One of our highly respected Pastor's offered a valuable insight and suggested making a proper difference in the lives of perhaps one or two, (or as many as one could afford) and invest in that individual's life for upliftment, rather than spreading oneself too thinly and not making much difference at all. This has become a popular trend in that a number of churches or organizations will "adopt" an orphanage or a nursery school or take on a community project to assist folks and is an excellent way of spreading the gospel.

We also have a tradition called "Ubuntu" in which if there has been a tragedy of some kind, a death or a disaster, the entire community swings into action to assist those affected until normality is restored.

February 25 2015 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Victor Fds
Most Important is to understand the passage when Jesus (God in the Flesh; The Great I AM; Yahweh) says "When I was hungry you gave me to eat, When I was thirsty you gave me to drink, When I was a stranger and you took me in....." Most of the confusion to the above Question lies in the context it is understood. Jesus here talks about "Believers" in the One True Living God - Yahweh (I AM). He's is not talking about "Non-Believers" at all. The One True Living God is a "Spirit" & he lives in his own & not in the World & all its people. Remember what Jesus said to Saul (later called Paul)...."Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"...

October 18 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Image Henry Klassen
Leviticus 19:9-10 KJV
[9] And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. [10] And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 23:22 KJV
[22] And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.

It looks like Gods welfare plan is a little different from ours, God wants them to work for it by the looks of it, not just sit and wait till someone hands it to them.

April 16 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Data Donna Murray
This scripture comes to mind. 

Proverbs 17:5
Whoever makes fun of beggars insults their maker. Whoever laughs at someone’s else’s problems will be punished. 

Don’t know if that helps at all.

February 16 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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