When Giving Isn’t Helping



Psalms 84:11

The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right (v.11).

Street kids populate most intersections in Uganda’s capital city Kampala. I know many of the children by name, and when I’m stopped in traffic they regularly congregate at my car to talk and laugh with me.


As much as I care about the boys and girls, I don’t give them money; after 4 years of living in East Africa, I’ve learned that in most cases doing so isn’t helping them. Take Charles, for example. At age 11, Charles was a cute little boy. When he begged, he could make 10,000 Ugandan shillings a day (about $4.00).


Charles turned down a school sponsorship so that he could make money on the streets. As he got older, however, fewer people gave Charles handouts. His begging well ran dry and he had no education behind him to prepare him for legitimate work.


Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.’ ” It’s natural, when a child sticks his hand in your car window and asks for help, to think, It’s in my “power to help” now by giving this young person money.But I urge you to consider prayerfully whether handing out your money would truly benefit the person. There’s a time to give freely to those in need, but sometimes helping in other ways is the greater good.


When we don’t receive something right away after praying to God, we can rest assured that He is choosing what is best to build our character and faith. God cares about us too much to offer quick fixes that aren’t in our best interest.

—Roxanne Robbins



Read Ecclesiastes 3:13 and see what it says about God’s gift-giving.



What’s something you can do for a needy person in your life—other than simply to hand him or her money? Why does God sometimes not give us what we think we need?



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