This last Wednesday night, we started discussing the book Irresistible Revolution and the subject of service came up. Specifically we began talking about our interactions (or lack thereof) with the poor and homeless. Everyone in our group agreed that it is a command of God for us to take care of the needy, which definitely includes the poor and homeless. We had different opinions of what that service or “taking care of” actually looked like.
One position was that we have a responsibility to directly and physically be serving the poor in close proximity at least to a small degree. The other position was that the desired service and “taking care of” might be accomplished better or more effectively through monetary support of organizations or others who are already established and working to accomplish the same goals. Both perspectives acknowledge the benefit or direct support and indirect support, but the question came up of where does the balance fall.
The issue of our heart being willing to serve directly is important, because we all agreed on that. The question became: is it acceptable to simply give money if our heart is right and we are willing to serve directly if/when it comes up? Are we commanded to pursue opportunities where we are in direct service?
This is a conversation that briefly came up during our social justice series and it was an interesting discussion, so I am curious what anyone else’s thoughts are on the subject.