Recently in my study of the Gospel of Luke, I was reminded that we have a duty to those who are materially poor, and that duty is to remember them by sharing what we have with them. There are qualifiers to this duty; it is not an absolute duty. Here are three qualifiers to your duty to the poor.
a. Not all duties are equal. Thus, we owe to God our duty first, and then to our immediate family. Furthermore, if we are Christians, we owe our charity and material support to those, first, who are “of the household of faith” (Galatians 6), and only after to those who are “without.”
b. Giving may be harmful, not helpful. Habitat for Humanity requires “sweat equity” from those who receive houses from them, as a way of checking the harmful effects of giving. When you’re invested in something, you tend to care more about it. Continue reading