It has recently come to my attention that there are those who feel charity to panhandlers is not a responsible act of stewardship – stewardship with God’s gifts. I saw a person begging on a street corner near my home last week which reminded me of this. I won’t tell you what I did. (Matt 6:1-4)
God’s gifts are meant to be paid forward (see Paying it Forward). Sharing His generosity to us only glorifies Him more. (Leviticus 23:22) (Proverbs 11:18) Do the godly thing and give to the beggar. Then let God do with all your tithes what He will. (Matt 5:40-42) Once you let go, be not concerned with it. It then belongs to God. Nobody can make better use of your charity.
In recent years, I have come to notice a great increase in people having bad behavior toward others. I have witnessed unattended children rampaging through stores and parking lots. They could easily get hurt. I’ve seen adults running to beat me to the checkout line. I see so many DANGEROUS driving maneuvers nearly every time I drive out of my neighborhood. While trying to pick the best items of produce, I have been basically pushed out of the way. And possibly the most annoying, people talking loudly on cell phones in places like restaurants and doctor’s offices, where there is a big sign asking the patients to turn off their cell phones. There are more examples, but I will keep this post short so that is does not become a griping session.
In many cases, I just keep my mouth shut about this problem, but I DO want to inspire people to be more courteous in every aspect of their lives, from driving to the supermarket to helping your spouse clean the kitchen. Jesus told us “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets”. (Matt 7:12) This is not a request nor a suggestion. This is a command from the mouth of God!
So the next time you begin to do something even just a little bit aggresive or unlawful or just plain discourteous, ask yourself these questions: Would I want someone else to do this to me? Am I messing things up for anyone else by doing this? Would this affect me in a bad way if somebody else did this? If the answer is “yes”, then back away from your actions and quickly re-think your situation. Being courteous is godly and most anything else would go against the words of Christ. That would be sinful!
The Heavenly Father has instructed us with everything we need to do for a healthy Christian life that will endure our Spirit throughout our lifetime. I believe that Jesus perfectly outlines most of our user’s manual in Matthew chapters 5,6 and 7 in ways we can best understand them. There are metaphors in His words, but the Spirit will interpret the meaning as you read – I know it did for me.
He said we are “the salt of the earth”, meaning that we, as believers, are seasoned by God’s Word so that our flavor stands out amongst non-believers. (Matt 5:12) We are the “light of the world” and as such He instructs us: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. (Matt 5:14-16) We are warned to not break the Laws of God. (Matt 5:19-20) We need to endeavor, throughout our lives, to stay within the boundaries of God’s laws and His Will and purpose for us. (Matt 5:17-20) And finally, we must be true to our actions in our hearts and live with peace and joy in our hearts as we strive to please our Lord. If our hearts are not pure in all matters we will suffer difficult consequences. (Matt 7:21-23) (Matt 5:27-30) (Matt 7:24-27)
To lead by example, we should live by the following commands and let yourself be seen but do not tell anyone your good deeds, just leave them done in the sight of others and in the sight of God. (Matt 6:1-4)
Other ways to live a godly life are outlined below:
2. Prayer – Jesus teaches us how to pray and to pray in private,
by ourselves because He knows the temptation of
grandstanding ( ie:using 12 big, fancy words when 4 will do). (Matt 6:5-13)
3. Charity – This falls under good deeds, but again, give to the
needy but do it in silence and in secret. Do not boast about
the gifts you have given. (Matt 6:1-4) Do all your good deeds
joyfully. (Matt 6:16-18)
4. Trust in the Lord – in this passage, Christ says “do not worry” 3 times. So this must be especially important. (Matt 6:28-34)
5. False prophets – How can we accurately decide who is a false
prophet? The answer is by staying in God’s Word. If we know
how God thinks, His messages to us and His will for our lives,
we will be able to identify the false prophets and avoid them. (Matt 7:15-20)
Finally, to summarize, read the Word and obey it with a joyful heart. You
cannot hide your heart from God. He created us and gave us the manual with the instructions as to what we need to do to get fixed when we are broken. I should think, then, He would know what is best for us in our lives. As believers, we have no excuses not to ruminate on His Word and incorporate It into our lives each and every day. (Matt 7:24-28) (Matt 5:48)