Spare Change?

the money shot, originally uploaded by chelseydroberts.

I’ve been spending some time downtown lately and one doesn’t have to spend much time downtown before they are asked if they have any spare change. I am finding myself in the middle of a moral debate: to give or not to give.

I want to give. I want to help. It is all part of the servant life. But I find myself and others asking, “What will this person do with my money? Wouldn’t it be better to take them somewhere for a meal to ensure that the money isn’t spent on [insert various addictions here]?”

But the other day I was reminded that Jesus says “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”

So is it Christ-like to raise the question of stewardship when someone asks me for a dollar? 

Or should I give them two?

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15 thoughts on “Spare Change?

  1. Tim

    I’ve asked myself the same question Chels, but my answer is “just give” – especially when it’s just a bit – they may be held accountable later for how they spend the money(just like I will be), but I’m not the judge.


  2. Auntie Keri

    Hey Chels. Interesting.. very interesting.. I have thought about this too alot..and i have no answer. sorry.. but i do think and pray about that lots.. it doesn’t hurt us to give, and those people who use that money for things they shouldn’t will suffer from that in their own way. I guess it is better to give than to not give and then wonder what if they really did need money for food cause they haven’t eaten for a week.. you know.. i dunno.. anyway, so excited to see you guys soon.. you should come visit. i want you and pete and eva all to ourselves for a day.. love you chels:) appreciate your thoughts


  3. Kim (Mom & Grandma)

    I didn’t know that Jesus said to “give to everyone who asks you.” We’ve talked about this before Chels, remember? Now you have given me my answer. Thanks.


  4. Alexi-oh

    I like to give to everyone, those that ask and those that don’t. Today I offered to finish paying for someone’s coffee they didn’t have enough money for; blushing, they declined. I was sad. Is it right to refuse an unasked-for-but-wanted gift?


  5. dt

    i heard that one time jay-ban preached about this at glen elm.
    blair told me j said to be a reckless giver, like God is a reckless giver. he gives to us knowing how stupidly we’re going to spend the time, energy, life, and resources that he gives us. but he still gives us the chance to make that decision for ourselves.

    but then, this is not a first hand account of that sermon. all i’m saying is, jay is a pretty smart guy. i feel like Jesus would give someone the gitch he was wearing even if he knew that the person was going to use the gitch to barter for some hash. maybe not. but it seems to me to be a matter of either “do what Jesus said” or “since he’s so mysterious and shrouded, do what i figure Jesus meant, or at least should have meant, even though he didn’t say it.”

    im not sure?


  6. Auntie Marilyn

    Hi Chelsey,
    Your question should be a simple one to answer….but sadly it is not….by opening our purses to “help” another; are w doing that or are we opening up the opportunity to be robbed? Such a scary world to live in….I do believe that those that have should help those that do not….you never know what reasons that person may not have the basics in life….food, housing and clothing…so after pondering your question I say “give”….but carefully…you and baby’s safety comes first. I checked out your pictures….we do need to talk some day soon about me purchasing some of them for my home…..Keep up the great work…you have been blessed with a great gift. Did you and Eva go to Walmart yet to use her giftcard?
    Take care, Love to you all, M


  7. Chelsey

    alexis- i think the reason that some people would decline an offer like yours is because they don’t want to feel indebted to anyone. as if accepting your money for the coffee was admitting defeat or something; they don’t want to feel pitied. but i think that caring for each other in that way is amazing, and if we were all meeting each other’s needs… then there wouldn’t BE needs, would there?


  8. Mom and Grandma

    Thanks for the heart thoughts Chels, challenging as usual. I decided a long time ago that I would much rather be taken advantage of…then to miss an opportunity to be Jesus to someone who has never known Him like I have had the blessing to know Him…so if i can buy them the food I do…but if not, I would just take a chance…and give like Jesus would, FREELY with no strings attached…God looks after the rest! Oh how I love you! See you soon, my dear!

    Love, mom


  9. james

    good thoughts. I’ve found myself saving up the money and giving quite a bit to someone I know needs it (single mother, etc…) then when people ask If I have spare change i tell the honestly…no…I already gave it away.


  10. blair

    i love my mom. she’s a cool lady!
    and i like what dave said that i said that jason said…does that makes sense?

    i think we are to be reckless givers. dave, remember that one hippy dude who always came into blessings drunk and passed out in our chair? sometimes he would steal and we wouldn’t catch him, but i got into the habit of kicking him out as soon as i got in the door. i don’t know what i was thinking. most people would say i did the right thing, but i don’t think i did. i don’t think Jesus would have kicked him out just because he was going to steal some stuff. we can always play it safe and tell ourselves they would have spent it on drugs, but really that is just an excuse for us to not go our of our comfort zone. i know it’s not simple for some, but it was simple for Jesus to give in that way to us. i think we ought to do the same every chance we get, even if it wrecks us.


  11. Joylyn

    hey chels.
    Its really wierd that i read this today because i was just talkin with my friend about it because a guy came up and asked for some change for some soup. She went to give him some change and he replied with, ” Thats not what i wanted, i wanted a five dollar bill.” I heard that and was really confused, because if i was in that situation, I would want anything i could get. It just didnt seem right to me. I really dont have an answer. I would like to help, but its hard to know whether it is safe. But seriously. I HAVE NO CLUE, cause every situation is different… haha so when you find out let me know k? love you and im excited to see you guys!


  12. Kerry

    I think the question for me is not that we give for that is what we are called to do.:” It is more blessed to give than to recieve” Acts 20:35 any one that has done this with money or time knows this is true not alwalys with money blessings but always way more blessings than what was given.
    So the question I ask myself is who am i giving for ? If it is for Him/Her than what is the good gift in that situation. Mat 7:11(no pun intended) Money is usualy quick and easy. I find myself asking him/her instead of just giving money, can I buy you supper and sit with you and visit well at the same time in my heart I am hearing from myself I hope they don’T want supper because that will take the gift of my time. So for me the question is” is it for me or her/him that I am giving” and if it is for them than God will show you what to do. the question for me than is will I do it?

    Still growing Dad Roberts


  13. Leah&Craig

    good one chels. we were approached LOTS in Vernon – don’t know what it is about these BC cities that host more needy people. we always seemed to be in our car when we saw people who needed money – they had signs or we had gotten out of the car and they asked us. we always drove to the store, bought some oranges and a sandwich, and went back to give it to them. i love lavonne’s ‘freely, freely’ advice. maybe i haven’t gotten there yet. who am i to decide they need some nutrition and a full belly instead of a toonie?! NO ONE has asked us for anything since we’ve been in South Korea. i think we’ve only seen 1 homeless person…where are they all?! we know they are out there, but where?


  14. Dixie

    A common idiom by Dickens: “Charity Begins At Home”.
    To me, the key word here is “begins”, because if we’re first taught to be selfless and considerate within our family, it stands to reason that we’ll continue our charitable ways throughout our lives; as Martha Stewart would say, “That’s a good thing”.
    Kudos, Chelsey.


  15. Natalie

    Maybe the thankfulness one gets from being given a gift is what we should focus on, instead of what they’ll spend it on? Who knows.
    I just found out I have to sing at another church on Sunday and you leave Wednesday, but maybe you want to go photo-ing sometime this weekend?


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