Practicality of Helping others

I was recently involved in a heated debate with someone regarding this subject matter:

I believe to help someone means to go out of your way to aid them.  He believes that a person should help another person only if the helper is not at risk to any sort of damage.  For example someone with only a 100 dollars left shouldn't exactly lend 50 of it to another person.

Although I'm pretty sure my concept of it is the more 'Christian' of the two in the spiritual sense, I fully understand its impractical. So I ask should one let practicality and realism rule their actions -keep in mind, I'm not referring to matters such as denying your faith in order to live, Im referring to everyday trivial things?


  • How is it loving to help someone only when they are in dire need?

    Surely our Lord says, 'Love your neighbour as yourself'. Do we only love ourselves when we have some great need?

    It is often wise to have a measure of discretion, especially when money is concerned. But if a friend or acquaintance says, 'Can you help me do this...?' then it seems to me that the Christian response is, 'Yes, of course'.

    We must also be aware of our other responsibilities, in time I mean, and it is often a matter of juggling responsibilities and duties, and sometimes we cannot do everything. But as far as possible we should seek to help all as a matter of course.

    Father Peter
  • Thank you, Fr Peter, for that.

    I hope I'm not wading in the wrong pool here but...

    St John Chrysostom said that we should invest our money in the bank of the poor to receive interest in heaven. He also said we should not discriminate between those who ask us so that if a man on horse back asks us(21st century equivalent a Mercedes?)we should give.

    Further, its my experience that when we are generous the Lord is more than generous back in worldly necessities.
  • A very good quote Aidan.

    The Lord loves a cheerful giver, and we are not our own, we have been bought at a great price.

    Nothing we have belongs to us. We are deceived if we think our time, our possessions, our work or our education belongs to us.

    That which we will not use freely in the service of God and others we will lose.

    Father Peter
  • Father peter
    what you said above warmed my heart  .That was exactly what i need to hear right now .
    sibhat leEgziabher
  • God gives gifts... one of them is the mind to think and make sure what they are doing is right or wrong!

    lets say I have 100 dollars, and due to economy I have no job, and attending school, and i have my services in church, and so on and so on...

    and a friend asks me for 100 dollars... so pleased and content, I give him my 100 dollars... then the end of the week comes, and I have no money, so I cant attend school, because I have no gas money, I cannot go give my resume to company, even church, I will have a hard time, if even be able to attend due to my lack of gas money... end of the month comes, my landlord is asking for the rent money... so i put myself in a weak position!

    Joseph the Righteous, when he learned from the dream that there are seven years of famine, he did not just sit back, and not do anything, but he thought of a way to keep his country strong, and he saved the whole country from destruction, by saving from the seven years of fatness... so he didnt just give away everything but thought, and saved what will help him and his country!

    and lets not forget saint Paesia, when she opened her house to the poor, and gave all she has... what happened to her?! she had to go into the life sin to survive... now she gave ALL SHE HAS, but she ended up in sin just to survive... just to stay alive! 

    so if I give my friend 50 dollars, and I leave 50 dollars for me just to make sure that I'm still able to be successful for God's glory... have I not given from my needs?! this 50 dollars could've gone to my rent, but rather i gave it to my friend in their needs!

    now I will go back to God giving us minds to think... this goes to knowing what spiritual life we are at, if I have faith in God, and am willing to go through the tests for Gods glory... then I would give my whole hundred dollars to my friend, but if God tests us and does not give me money, then I still have to put my hundred percent, which means I would walk to school, and keep my grades, for God's glory, no matter how many miles or how I do it... which means, I will will be still looking for a job, because God wants you to do your part and He will do the rest, and while doing all that, you have to take communion, and partake in serving His body... and do ALL OF THIS WITH CHEER, without being depressed!!!

    are you ready to do all that?! if you are, then you are the right level to give... and this is such a high level, and it makes God sure of your love to Him... and this is why God observed the old widow, and was so happy, because she was able to give from her necessities... and she gave all she has! “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

    with all due respect to everyone that posted... its very easy to say give, sometimes giving is in itself a right-handed war from the devil, as we see in the story of saint Paesia, its very easy to say many things... but we have to look with a realistic view on what we can do, and what we cannot due yet!

    neshkor Allah, akhadna el baraka!
  • Superman,

    What you have said is good. We do need to be aware of how much faith we have.

    But I don't think the OP was only talking about money. And I don't think we should restrict it to money.

    In my own evangelical background there were stories of those who in the past would give away all that they had except for what they needed for the necessities of life. This does not seem to me to lack faith. Our Lord God does expect us to be organised, to pay bills, to be able to get to work etc etc.

    The OP seemed to be talking about every day demands on our time and resources. And so I do believe that there is a need for us to TRY and be cheerful and instant in the sacrifice of our own pleasures. But if we have other responsibilities and duties then we are not wrong to consider them either.

    I am not making any sort of rule, just thinking aloud. But we can recall the parable of the Good Samaritan. The first two who came along had other responsibilities and duties and they hurried by. But the Samaritan changed his plans, took care of the man in need, and THEN returned to his own plans and obligations. If what we are doing is in God's will then there is always a way.

    In our modern society we do have obligations on our money. It is not all our own. If we have a mortgage on a house, or have signed a contract to rent a property then this money does not belong to us. Even as we earn it we must understand that it belongs to another - just like taxes. Give to Caesar what is Caesar's. But there are amounts of money which are entirely in our hands. And this can also be a matter of subscriptions to TV etc. We can choose whether or not we will continue with these.

    Of course we can also choose to live in a very large house with an all consuming mortgage, or a smaller one. We can ask God to grant us a job nearer to home and Church, or have a very important one that takes up all our time and needs a 4 hour commute.

    These are all things we need to think about.

    But as a general rule, when someone asks something of us, we should, as far as IS POSSIBLE, and is appropriate, give generously. This is not often large amounts money, in my experience, but it is often time and attention. An elderly person might need a visit but they are not likely to ask for money. If we are busy with another responsibility then we have to decide what God would have us do.

    To live open-heartedly and generously seems to me to allow us the greatest scope for following God's will.

    But I have not learned to do this in my own life.

    Father Peter
  • Father Peter,

    what I said is due to the example that the OP used... but it also goes to everything else...

    for example sleep... I can give my body sleep and rest to the full, which is good for my health...

    or I can take some hours to be able to help and praise God, so I'm giving my body the rest, but still praising God...

    or I can be in a high level like in the story of Saint Bishoy, and sacrifice my whole sleep and rest... which is according to researches, it causes sudden death... and many other effects on the body... but Saint Bishoy lived to over the hundred years, and was able to even carry an old man (Jesus)... and walk up and down mountains!

    so it all depends on how much faith one has, and one will be able to suffer consequences... and will still be happy and cheerful to praise God!

    sorry if I confused anyone...
    thank God, I took the blessings
  • "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same."

    Luke 6:33
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