The ticket to enter the party was a new toy. Another event encouraged us to, “Bring canned goods.” It sparked a quiet conversation.
Toys, food, clothing and money are all desperately needed. Our tender hearts want to give, especially during the Christmas season, but this year, there’s a different stir amongst the givers. Multiple news sources report an abundance of jobs with few takers. The CNBC headline said, “There are now 5 million more job openings than unemployed people in the U.S.”
For the first time in decades, jobs are plentiful, yet workers are scarce. While some people can’t work, others flat out won’t. There are able bodied capable people who aren’t looking for jobs, yet it seems everyone still wants a gift for their child.
Are we to continue the generosity train when people won’t work?
A few years ago, I volunteered with The Angel Tree project that distributes toys and clothing to children in need. Conducting the initial interviews with parents seeking help, I verified employment, income and took notes on their situation. I was shaken and heartbroken with each case after hearing about the unexpected loss of a spouse, job or health, resulting in a desperate need for help. These parents were humbled and appreciative for the kindness from strangers.
But do all agencies conduct background checks like this? How do we know who truly needs a bicycle or turkey dinner with all the trimmings?
If you won’t work, should I give your child a toy?
The consensus amongst those bearing gifts that night was, "20 different people will have 20 different opinions." Or in other words, the independent American way.
After my initial human Scrooge-like justifications on the topic, my final answer was to turn to my faith. Sad that I didn’t land there first, but glad it didn’t take too long to remember that God instructs me to give with a glad heart. He wants me to follow Deuteronomy 15:10 which says to give freely without grudge.
The Bible is full of stories and verses that instruct us to give with a glad heart, and interestingly enough, none of them instruct us to question the motives of those in need. Although we must be wise and use discernment, we are also to be generous.
We give and while some will complain and take advantage, if we give with a heart for God’s approval and not that of man, we’ll always be blessed.
In other words, if the giver’s heart is in the right place, God will work on the heart of the receiver.
So yes, there are those who don’t deserve it . . . but give the kid a teddy bear anyway. He just may grow up to help you someday and God will delight in the fact that you were the one to bless him years before.