I can’t count the number of times I’m thought about doing something, but didn’t do it for one reason or another. The action that I “thought” about was never done – it was only in my mind. I recently heard a guy say that intention is similar to ignoring. I remember my Grandma telling me that the “road to hell was paved with good intentions”. I’m learning as I get older that people with good intentions are no different than people who don’t care. Their actions are the same. I realize that the Lord will judge us based upon our heart, but our actions reveal our heart.
Jesus was describing the final judgement for His disciples and He spelled it out clearly that when we serve the down and out, we’re actually serving Him. Check this out….
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:31-40 NLT)
This passage of scripture really troubles me at times, because over the years I’ve helped others and felt like they were often simply too lazy to work. I remember one instance when I was in my early 20’s and a guy showed up asking for money so I gave him my last bit of cash, which was $5. I learned later that he was the town drunk. He probably spent that money on alcohol. I have been a bit jaded in trying to discern people who were simply taking advantage of me or people who really needed my help. It’s not an easy decision. I’ve started trying to give items that are needed instead of money. Often people who are in deep need are there because they simply can’t manage money. If I keep giving them money, I’m actually not helping – I can work on their needs instead of their wants. God loves a cheerful giver and He calls His people to give. We are never more like God than when we give – He gave His One and ONLY Son for us. Giving is not just about money and resources – it’s also about our time.