Whet about the issue of giving to people who beg on the streets? I am conflicted as to when that is the right thing to do and when it might not be (i.e. the man I see run into the liquuor store after he has collected enough for a drink). Thank you! -- Susan

Jesus encourages us to be generous, to give to the one who asks, even if it's an unrighteous person (Luke 6:30). However, he also tells us to live by the golden rule (Matt 7:12; Luke 6:31). If we genuinely want what is best for someone else, we might not give them money, circumstances depending, as you point out.

I usually give when a true need is apparent: a leper, an elderly person, a disabled person…. In some countries beggars -- often children -- are syndicated. If the children are disabled -- for example intentionally blinded or crippled -- I don't think too much about the syndicate. (I give.) Sometimes I give food or clothing instead of money.

The more able-bodied? — well — I play it by ear. The beggar does not have a claim on our money; it is God to whom we owe our trusting obedience. We want to emulate his heart, gracious and generous.

For more thoughts on money matters, check out the relevant section under Podcasts etc. We have quite a few on money, poverty, economics, etc.