(Mat 5:42) Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
It is convenient, and easy to shirk off giving to others because they give to the 'church' and then the church distributes as the deacons, and the leaders see fit.
I think we have it all wrong.
I think responding to the poor in a concentrated local church effort generates good things, like organized outreaches, and taking some soup to the poor. But this should only be a spillover from your individual efforts, we should be doing this, all the time, as the Lord instructed.
Case and point, plenty of well-clad suited business people passing a man with a gaping whole in his neck, a tracheotomy that allows him to speak and breath. Cancer he says. 17.94 for prescription is all I need, 64 years old and I cannot get SSI, SSDI, and too old to apply for medicaid. This man is gonna die soon, and quite possibly, very painfully.
But because it is Detroit, and everyone seems to be a scammer, nobody stops to listen to his plea. Many would refrain because he might buy dope. Such is also the norm for Christians, who practice the same methods of denial.
But the Lord said?
Do you believe He is sovereign or not? That's the question we should ask ourselves when we see outstretched hands beckoning for loose change, your gleanings. Those hands, used to be mine, have they ever been yours? Can we as believers relate? Do we have different socioeconomic backgrounds? Of course, but in principle, the Lord said blessed are those who are poor in spirit as well. Are we poor? If we are, then we should understand the poor, after all, this is indeed who Jesus came to save.
I do not think it is a matter of who is wealthy, or not. For the believer, one dollar in your pocket has made you wealthy, every breath you take this side of eternity has made you wealthy, and every last thing we store up here, will not go with us. Neither will that 17.94 that man asked for.