Can a Sandwich Hurt?

“I want to help those less fortunate than I am.”

Its a noble thought and a worth while action.  If God has abundantly blessed you it is a natural response to look around you and want to “give back” to others.  We can all think of a million things we can do to “help” the poor.  Our first reaction is to think of some way that we can meet their physical needs.  But what if, by merely meeting their immediate needs, we’re really not helping them at all?  Can a sandwich really hurt someone?  Sadly the answer really is yes…

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Don’t get me wrong.  In order to truly help someone their immediate needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc) must be met as well as their future needs.  But we must learn to balance helping a person help himself (or herself) and meeting their needs.

What first comes to mind is the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him forever.”

I’m not saying to not to not do something.  People do need help and not every act of service is going to hinder someone in need.  Its just time to stop and think.  How can I both meet their needs and build them up so that they can continue to meet their own needs?

I don’t know the answer to that question yet.  But its an answer that I plan to discover.

A book a highly recommend (that I’m currently reading myself) is When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

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