You know that feeling you get when you are sure that you are confident in the temporarily permanent decision you made; but then you begin to second guess your sanity? Yeah, my husband and I had bouts of those “quick qualms” when we missed the first plane to China and had to reroute the whole trip (piece of advice: never get to the airport forty-five minutes before your plane takes off; even if your airport has only one terminal).
Honestly, I would like to say that I am almost always calm and collected when life throws its curve balls, but I am not. I often have a “quick qualm” or two flash through my mind which causes frustration. Then I become frustrated about being frustrated. Thankfully, God gave me to a husband who is able to discern this cycle in me before I fully realize it and gave him the balls to confront me about it before I become a swirling vortex of doom.
Having said that, its the catching-a-monkey-wrench-to-the-face times in life when I am immensely thankful for a God who holds everything in His hands. In Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-34, we read that Jesus told us not to worry because God holds it all. Instead, we ought to be seeking the kingdom.
Everywhere I look, I see people buying things or planning to buy more things (life is incredibly materialistic in the developed regions of China). It is easy to convince ourselves that we “need” something. I do it often. But after the euphoria of finally buying a dehumidifier passes, I am looking at the upgrade or worried about keeping the one we bought in working order (it is of legendary Chinese quality). Thus, I find that chasing after stuff simply gives me more to worry about.
With this in mind, I look at Jesus’ words in these passages as more of an invitation than a command. I think Jesus is inviting us to rest in the Father’s provision and to be content with what He has given us in this life rather than commanding us to never ask questions or condemning “quick qualms.” Moreover, we have already been given the kingdom (Lk. 12:33)! Therefore, we should be living contentedly and giving freely to the poor in this life while focusing on Jesus and investing in kingdom values and treasure that cannot be spoiled or stolen.
As for being tricked by “poor” people, there are ways to avoid this in most situations. Offer a meal, drink, groceries, or a tank of gas instead of cash. The people who really need help will probably appreciate this. But what if you do give them money and they just spend it on their addiction? I have a better question for you: what do you think God will say to you when you stand before Him and say that you have never been tricked into giving money to someone who didn’t really need it? Is God more interested in the money He gave you or your heart?
So for all you Christians out there, whenever you have a “quick qualm” about your possessions, remember that possessions should not possess you. Rather, the One who holds all of Creation gave you those possessions to enjoy them and bless others.