Bear and Brenda DeardorffThe truly difficult thing to do when you are working in a ministry which provides help to those who need it most is knowing when to say “No”. This is not something that we take lightly or do without much prayer. There is a fine line between helping people who are truly in need of it and enabling people who know how to work the system.
Frequently we are asked how we know the difference. How do you know when it is right to give the guy on the street corner change and when it is only enabling him to go and do what is not healthy for him? That is a very good question. Here is how we approach it:
Every day, we dedicate ourselves to the reading of God’s Word and to prayer. This is so very important when you are involved in ministry of any kind, but it is especially important when you need the wisdom and discernment of God to be good stewards of His peoples’ gifts to minister to a hurting and needy world. It is our desire to remain abiding in Christ as a Board of Directors and as Love Bears All Volunteers. By abiding in Him and He in us, we have an insight, a discernment that comes directly from the Holy Spirit to guide us in right decision-making regarding giving.
This is not to say that we aren’t human and occasionally make a mistake in judgment, we do. We can be deceived like anyone else if we are acting only on emotion and not moving in the Spirit. It is a constant battle – a spiritual warfare that is never ending and requires our sincere commitment and dedication each and every day. If we step out of the Word of God, or we do not clothe ourselves in the armor of God daily, bathing ourselves in prayer, we could easily make decisions that will ultimately be detrimental to people rather than helpful.
Our deepest desire is that you will pray with us to keep us on our spiritual toes. Ask God to shower us with His wisdom daily, to cover us in His discernment and to hedge us in on all sides with His protection. We want to be doers of His Word, not hearers only, but we never want to be enablers of people or helpers of the enemy. In the Bible, God has provided clear teaching for us regarding the liar, the cheater, the manipulator, the slothful and the lazy. We must use wisdom and discernment to avoid these pitfalls.
If someone comes to us with a need and God does not confirm it in our spirits immediately that we are to help meet that need, we consult one another and make sure that it is agreed to by more than one of us that we need to either give to, or pass on, the assistance to that person. Likewise, if we have someone approach us with a need and God sends an immediate confirmation or brings another of us along to confirm it, we act upon it without hesitation. Our desire is to move freely and confidently in the Spirit of God and let Him do the good work He intends in the hearts of those we serve.
Yes, there are limits and rules regarding what we do, internal regulations and guidelines that we follow, but there is also freedom in the Spirit to move as He calls us to move. We have accountability one to another and an accountability to God Himself to do what is scriptural and to do it in love. We also have an accountability to those we serve and to those who donate and support us in service. We take this responsibility very seriously.
If God encourages you to give a dollar to the needy person on the street corner, do it without reservation, in the love of Christ and with all joy. If He gives you a “check in your spirit” about doing it, do not feel guilty or carry any shame in withholding it, for God knows to whom the gift should be given and to whom it should be withheld. Give with a generous and hilarious heart when He tells you to give! Give freely for He has given unto you freely. But, give wisely, for He holds us accountable for that which we do, whether good or bad, and He knows the motives of our hearts. Pray about what you should give and give it knowing God will bless it.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7