Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Charity, friends and family and aquaintences

19-21"There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man's table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores. 22-24"Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, 'Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.' 25-26"But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.' 27-28"The rich man said, 'Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won't end up here in this place of torment.' 29"Abraham answered, 'They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.' 30"'I know, Father Abraham,' he said, 'but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.' 31"Abraham replied, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.'" "The Message Luke 16: 19-31
I think of this when I think of charitable giving or giving to others. I would like to note that there was some familarity between the rich man and Poor Lazarus, as the man requests that Lazarus, who he names, come down and provide him with some relief. Jesus also has something to say about the stranger and charity with the story of the Good Samaratin.
What does the above have to do with my thoughts now? Dunno, I figure it would take too long to link the following to the above.
Some friends, who have been carrying a burden have gotten to the point where they are asking for monetary help. They've been asking for prayers, but the battle, like all wars, has gotten expensive. They are middle class Americans, but certain things, which I won't write about to respect their privacy, can cripple you financially. Knowing how hard it can be for normally independent people to ask for help, I am thankful for the opportunity to do something more.
Though I don't know if or how it counts this also has me thinking of financially aiding poorer relations. I've been sending my parents just enough money to keep them in Starbucks for a couple of weeks. Not much. Gas money, really. Mom has access to an account of mine that I need to periodically take money out of so it doesn't become too much of a temptation. For I noticed my family get all sorts of plans in their heads about how to spend the money when it gets over $1000. She'll take money out to cover insurance or a light bill or taxes. Fine. It's there for those kinds of things.
Then there are my new relatives, my in-laws. I don't know what they need, or how to give it. With my own, I know where I can be bossy and where to lay off. Since the Help's MO for the longest while was to check in once a quarter and visit once a year with his people, I don't know what the score is. Also culturally it's different, west coast and somewhat whitish. They talk about it being hard with budget cuts and the state fooling with the pensions. Okay. I can see where any charity offered can step on toes (undermining sense of being a provider or adequate parent). So right now I'm just taking it as grousing and not a call for help. And there is another help that is asked for that we are too far away to do.
I'm also thinking of help offered to people we sort of know from a distance. I'm thinking of someone's legal battle that thankfully is over, but the bills were big and it kept dragging on and on. They asked for help and I wrote checks. Small checks and I wish they could have been bigger.

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