He Will Just Use that Money for Drugs
Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. John 18:2
Driving into work recently, I saw a man and his son sitting across the street holding a sign that said something like, “Homeless. Need money for food.” I rarely carry cash, but for some reason, I had a few dollars in my pocket, and I knew I should walk over and talk to him. The familiar objections began in my mind. It’s a scam. He’ll just use that money to buy drugs. That kid probably isn’t even his. He’s just using him for sympathy.
I have a lot of excuses. Probably the most honest one – the one which I never really admit – is that I just don’t like to give away my money. I have money because I have a job and I prefer to keep all of it. Jesus though, said I should love my neighbor as myself and that how I treat the poor is how I treat him. Sigh. But that guy will still just use the money for drugs.
Jesus didn’t really seem all that concerned about whether or not others might take advantage of his generosity or kindness. Jesus loved and instructed Judas just as much as the rest of the disciples, knowing that Judas would one day betray him. He invited Judas into his inner circle, allowing him intimate knowledge of his life. In today’s passage, we’re told that Judas used that inside information to know just where Jesus would be on the night of his arrest.
Sitting in the parking lot, outside of work that day, I had this whole conversation in my head. I believed I knew what Jesus would do, but I didn’t want to do it. In the end, I walked across the street, had a conversation, and gave the guy the cash I had in my pocket. I didn’t get a signed contract promising me that he wouldn’t use the money for drugs. I did get an appreciative thank-you from the man and his son. I’m not saying we must give money to every panhandler we encounter. I’m just saying the excuses I’ve used in the past are insincere and hollow. I may be naive and I may have just paid five dollars to sooth my own conscience, but for once, I didn’t use my excuses to justify disobedience. I’m going to call that personal growth.