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Man Gives to Beggar for Wrong Reason

Author Ed Dobson wrote a book titled The Year of Living Like Jesus, in which he tells the story in diary form of how he tried to live as Jesus lived and as Jesus taught for a year. On day thirteen of month one, he records this story:

My wife and I drove to Key West. I decided to take a day off from reading. As we walked past a restaurant on Duvall Street, a man, who'd obviously been drinking, called from the steps: "Hey, could spare some change so I can get something to eat?"
I've heard that line a lot, and I know a number of responses. First, you can simply ignore such people. After all, he will most likely use whatever money you give him to buy more alcohol, and, therefore, you'd be enabling his habit. Second, you can offer to take him to a restaurant to buy him something to eat. In most cases the person will not go because he mainly wants the money to buy alcohol. Third, you can point him to an organization that provides meals for the homeless. Many such organizations exist in most cities.
What did my wife and I do? We walked past the man without doing anything, as we have done with so many other people over the years. After all, it's not our fault that he is where he is.
But after we'd walked on a little farther, he called after us, "Can you help a Vietnam vet?" My youngest son is a veteran, and I deeply respect those who have served their country in that way. So I stopped, walked back to him, and gave him a dollar. At that moment I remembered the words of Jesus: "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." It's as simple as that—give to the one who asks. He asked. I had an obligation to give.
As I walked down the street, a wonderful peace came over me because I felt I'd actually obeyed one of Jesus' teachings. I knew he'd probably use it to buy more alcohol and that I probably hadn't made the wisest choice. And I also knew that a dollar wasn't really going to help him. But I had no other choice. He asked and I was obligated.
Still, what caused me to give him the money was not really my responsibility to follow Jesus, but the fact that he was a veteran. So after my initial euphoria, I realized I had done the Jesus thing for the wrong reasons.

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