Thursday, August 8, 2013

Helping the "Needy"

My husband is a very giving person.  Whether he's shuttling kids to youth group, delivering food pantry goods to families with bare cupboards or counseling those in times of crisis, it seems he is always helping others.  These acts certainly go along with the duties of being a youth minister, but he goes beyond that & takes the disciple nature to another level.  My heart is warmed every time I see the needy families he helps...

...Unless the "neediness" of these families is questioned.

Over the years, there have been times when I find out that the people who are the recipients of our time & efforts aren't as needy as they let on.  Poor financial choices tend to drive some of these needy people to our front door.  I'm not talking about people who barely make enough to pay their bills.  I'm referring to those who take from the food pantry while buying newer cars, gadgets, video games or other "extras."  Recently, someone told Jesse that they had no money to buy an A/C unit that was desperately needed.  So, we were able to come up with a unit & took it to their house to drop off.  I was more than a little surprised to see they had just purchased a huge, brand new flat screen TV.  Another time, someone actually had the audacity to request specific brands of food be stocked at the food pantry since those were what they liked.

On the surface, both of these (true) examples leave me speechless since I can't imagine how some people can be so forthright, especially when they are the recipients of charitable acts!  However, our society has become very self-focused, so feelings of entitlement & "What's in it for me?" abound.  I suppose it's no wonder people feel they really are needy.  But, it's time we start separating our true needs from our wants & prioritize them.  Of course doing this requires some self-restraint which, in my opinion, is practiced far too infrequently nowadays.

I tend to get easily frustrated by these situations & know this is something that I have to work on.  We are practicing much more due diligence with our giving, which seems unfortunate because it takes the focus away from those who are legitimately in need of assistance.  Even though I don't always recognize it, there are blessings coming through these situations.  After all, as the Prayer of St. Francis states, " is in giving that we receive."  I'll keep reciting this mantra in the hopes it helps me deal with these situations better each time they occur.

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