The Gospel According To St Matthew: Ye have done it unto me

Last night, while leaving a restaurant I was carrying my youngest to our minivan while I walked past a beggar. He was sitting on the curb and looked up at me and said “Sir?”

In the past I would ignore these people as if they did not exist three out of four times. I am sorry to say that I did just that as I walked by. The fact that I ignored him was a reflex move.

As I ignored him I started to feel that I shouldn’t have. Was that the spirit prompting me?

As I walked closer to my minivan – I thought in my mind that I have to go back. I had read scripture on this and it is now ringing in my ear.

I put my little boy into his car seat, packed up and we started to drive away. As we drove I started to console with my wife:

“I should go back there and help him.”

She, who has exampled charity many times since I’ve met her, told me that if I felt I should, then I should.

My wife pulled back up to him and I rolled down the window and asked him if he’s hungry. He nodded his head yes.

I hopped out of the car and asked him to follow me in and I will buy him something. He didn’t want to.

“I can’t, I’m eight-sixed” he said.

I replied, “That’s OK, tell me what you want to eat and I’ll bring it to you.”

He put his head down and shook his head no.

“Can you just give me some money?”

“No” I said, “I don’t give money out but I will feed you if you are hungry.”

He said “nevermind.”

I asked him “are you sure?”

He nodded yes.

I went back into our minivan and then we drove off.

The scripture that I had read was of what Jesus Christ taught:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:34-40)

I am wondering, should I have given him money?

He was hungered and I offered to feed him. My reasoning behind not doing so is so he doesn’t use it for things that would not help him.

8 Replies to “The Gospel According To St Matthew: Ye have done it unto me”

  1. Hello,

    No definitely don’t give people money that you don’t know. Feeding a man is what we are called to do. We should be as wise as serpent and harmless as doves. If the man turned down food you must realize he may be using the money he collects for drugs or alcohol. I know people with no permanant place to stay.

    Don’t even feel guilty about this. The fact that you went back and did the right thing speaks for itself.



  2. You did the right thing. It is extremely difficult for someone to know if the person is actually in need or not. I beleive that if people did know that someone on the street needed help most would help in any way they could.

    When I lived in Vegas there were many scam artists on the streets. I wouldn’t give money, but occasionally I felt they were legitimate and would give them food or water. Many times I’ve had the same experience as you. They refuse the food and insist that they need money. When this happens you should just walk away. If they aren’t willing to accept the necesities then they must not be in that bad of shape (at least in their mind).

  3. Tough one with no easy answers. If you’d given it to him, you’d have been tormented with the knowledge that you had probably supported a drug or alcohol problem. On the other hand, I’ve heard that we’re to give freely of whatever (time, money, possessions), but that after the gift is given, it’s not up to us to dictate what the person is to do with it. It’s no longer ours then.

    In all honesty, I think you did the right thing.

  4. I guess it is up to me to give the dissenting opinion. If a beggar asks for money and you have it to give, you should give it up. The scripture you quoted in the Bible doesn’t mention money, only food, raiment, etc., but Mosiah 4: 16-23 does. Substance, in these verses, includes silver and gold (money) as well as every other kind of riches. (See verse 19.) It is best to err on the side of generosity and leave judgment of what the man does with the money squarely on his shoulders, relying on his free agency. At the last day that man may stand up to accuse you of professing to be a saint but not acting as one and he may keep you from your eternal reward, while he goes into everlasting happiness.

    That’s my two cents.

  5. LDS Anarchist,

    THANK YOU for pointing out Mosiah 4! That certainly puts a different perspective on things.

    Mosiah 4:19 reads:

    For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

    Yes, we all depend on God for everything we have. No matter how we have gained it, it is all still his.

    Mosiah 4:21 reads:

    And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

    Why should we withhold what is his to others? We shouldn’t!

    Mosiah 4:22 reads:

    And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

    Perhaps I had good intentions by withholding, but I see the error in that now.

    Your two cents tonight has really opened my eyes and has given me a deeper appreciation of the Book of Mormon. This has given me new drive to complete the whole book by April 1st.

    Thank you again!

  6. Steward – a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.

    We are also commanded to be wise stewards of what God has given us. As stewards of our substance, we can judge how to hand it out. Yes, we have to take responsibility for how we do that. I know that is scary, but that’s part of being a steward. If we see someone that will not accept food or raiment and do not feel inspired to give them money, I see nothing wrong with that. Giving money just because we can isn’t always the best thing to do. In fact, it is often the easy way out. Let the Spirit be your guide, God will never condemn you for withholding money if the Spirit directs you to. We should always try to help those less fortunate than ourselves. This doesn’t and perhaps shouldn’t include money in most cases.

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