We have all heard the saying “Beggars Shouldn’t Be Choosers” but can we stop giving crap to the poor.
This phrase, “Beggars shouldn’t be choosers.” is a common one that I’ve heard all my life. For that matter, I have subconsciously believed it as I served others.
I recently looked up what this idiom means. This is what The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms says,
Those in dire need must be content with what they get. For example, The cheapest item will have to do-beggars can’t be choosers.”
I know you would never say such a thing but stop for a second and think through the kinds of stuff you’ve given to the poor whether it’s used or new.
When we allow this kind of subconscious thinking, it has the power to change our actions and our work ethic becomes less than admirable. We become susceptible to believing “You get what you get and that’s better than nothing.”
Then we find ourselves giving crap away or doing crappy service projects. Let’s not allow this kind of thinking seep into our hearts of service and giving.
related article: Teaching our Kids to Give: The One Thing We Changed
Our Gifts Speak Louder
This thinking has us patting ourselves on the back as we check out at the dollar store with 50 plastic cheaply made dolls that won’t last for more than 10 minutes or as we walk away from an unplanned and haphazardly put together vacation bible school project.
We become okay with the bare minimum because the less fortunate or those in need should be grateful we gave them anything at all. They should be thankful we took a week off our schedule to come and be with them.
No, this has to change!
Before you go out shopping for your Operation Christmas Child or go through your closet to give away things ask yourself–
- Is this going to last (more than a few months)?
- Would I give this gift to my friend’s child for Christmas or birthday gift?
- Does this gift whisper you are known. You are seen. You are loved.? I think you’re valuable!
If you answered, “no” to any of those questions then put the item down.
These children don’t need more dollar store toys that last a week and then fall apart. Doll heads that cave in because they are made from hard plastic. Stickers that don’t stick because they were cheaply made.
I have no problem with dollar stores of any kind. In fact, I buy my kids stocking stuffers from these stores. But you see unlike mine or your situation, these gifts are not stocking stuffers for these children. More often than not, the parents of these children can’t afford to give their kids anything. So your gift is the only Christmas present they are getting.
You may be asking yourself, “How do I know this?” Well because I’ve gone into the homes of these children who live in poverty. I have personally given your Christmas boxes to these children and I’ve watched the toys fall apart right before my very eyes.
I’m not saying go out and spend $50 on a gift but what I am begging you to do is ask yourself the questions above. Then watch how what you’re putting in your shopping basket changes.
Your box full of dollar store finds are not stocking stuffers for these children. It’s the only gift they are getting this Christmas!
Don’t Believe the Lies
- Lie: It’s okay if we send cheap toys at least they are receiving something.
Truth: I have distributed those crap toys that are sent and I know for a fact that most organizations would rather you send 10 good toys than 30 cheap toys that won’t last.
- Lie: It’s okay if we do a sloppy work project. After all, before we arrived their home was just another dirty shack.
Truth: Yes, but the shack that’s falling apart and now sloppily painted, is home for them. Though their home may not seem like much to us, it’s the reason they go out every day into those dirty, hot streets so they can keep a roof over their heads.
- Lie: It’s okay if the clothes has noticeable stains and rips which we would never dare wear but they’ll be happy to at least have some clothes.
Truth: Yes, they may wear your stained filled clothes because they are desperate but they have dignity.
Stop giving crap to the poor just because it makes us feel better. Or because it gives us an excuse to get rid of all our junk we can’t bare to trash.
related article: How to Give Gifts
The Message I Want to Send
When we serve others and give to others, we need to make sure the message we are sending is-You are known You are seen. You are loved.
As a faith based family we want these precious little ones to know they are loved, known and seen and these gifts are from their Heavenly Father who cares about them.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
Can I truly say this is from God?
One year we had planned to give out lunches to the street kids as a group. Normally we just go out as a family but this time we had organized a whole group of people to join us. As I planned, I shared with the other coordinator that the lunches had to be made that day otherwise the bread gets soggy. Her response was shocking, “It’s okay. I’m sure they’ll just be happy to just get a lunch.” I couldn’t’ believe it. Maybe there was some truth in her statement but I could NOT personally give these street kids soggy lunch bread even if their starve-stricken tummies didn’t care.
I care! It matters to me!
It’s time to stop giving crap to the poor
I don’t think you or these church groups, service project groups, missions groups do this on purpose. I honestly believe we truly want to be a blessing.
But it’s time we start thinking about what we give and how we give it! Ask yourself, Am I being called to give sacrificially?
Most people don’t set out to do a crappy service project job in Zimbabwe or give crap things to poor little kids in Bangladesh but even with the best intentions you can subconsciously find yourself buying into this message of “Beggars shouldn’t be choosers.”
When we give generously we have the opportunity to whisper–You are loved! You are known! You are seen!
I’d love to hear what your experience has been like. Share in the comments below!
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