It was Saturday night, and my sermon, one of the first at my new church, glowed in green on the screen. Deep in thought, I scarcely noticed the telephone's ringing, but Nancy soon called down the stairs, "Meg Sheridan is on the phone."
I groaned. Meg had attended my previous church for several months and was always nice-but always needy.
Don't get me wrong; I love helping people in need. The gift of mercy motivated me to pastor in the inner city for eight years. I would rejoice when from a Sunday offering of $200 (far below budget), I could give $30 to Mary, a woman from the housing project whose cupboards were bare.
Only with the overdependent do I agonize about giving. I am torn between the words of Jesus, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these . . . ," and a suspicion that some needy people don't fit the parable.
How do we truly help the counselee who never seems to improve? Should we support an unemployed member who bypasses a minimum-wage job? How should we minister to the person ...1