This morning, a young man knocked on my door asking for pop cans and bottles to raise money for his youth group trip. We don’t have any cans or bottles right now, but I asked about his youth group and his trip anyway. I would have been happy to invest in a youth group that wanted to go and minister in spirit and in aid to the Port au Prince victims of January’s devastating earthquake.
But when the words “Cedar Point” came out of his mouth, I think my disbelieving expression scared him because I hadn’t even gotten the words, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any empties” out of my mouth and he was off the porch and running.
Am I the only one who thinks Christian teenagers shouldn’t just be given money to take a fun trip? If he hadn’t disappeared so quickly, I probably would have invited him to do some yard work in exchange for the money. That would have been more than fair, in my opinion. But to just give money to a kid I don’t know so he can go on a vacation? Nah. I don’t think so. What entitles him to my money? If I wanted to gift it to him, that would be another matter entirely.
What entitles a kid to my money?
I’m not opposed to asking for money. Don’t mistake me on this. Again, I’d have rejoiced to help them buy a goat for a third world family. But Cedar Point? No, you have to earn that.
I struggle with feeling that way, to be honest. My inner voice is debating me even now. She says:
- When you were a kid, Sar (and even as an adult), others have helped you to do fun things that you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. (This, of course, is true! However, the people who have been generous to me have always been church, family, or friends. I never went to someone’s door asking for money for a fun trip. I did raise missions money by empties, but again–not the same.)
- A youth group needs to do fun things together for the sake of building relationships. (Absolutely! But allow their church members to invest in their relationships. They know, far better, the needs of their own teenagers. Don’t they? And also, they would know whether this youth group has pursued fun trip after fun trip, or whether they’ve just returned from Haiti and now want to have fun. They may very well be deserving of a free trip; but I wouldn’t know them enough to decide, would I?)
- You’re such a tightwad. (That’s right. I am. I’m allowed to be. Have you seen the economy? Don’t mistake an unwillingness to send someone on vacation for a lack of generosity. If it’s that important to him to make this trip, he’ll find a way to earn the money. )
Cripe. I’m sorry. I just really don’t agree with this. It ranks right up there with television ministries asking for donations.
What do you guys think? Would you have given the kid some money? I may have…if I’d known him. But even now, I’m looking at a photo of my Compassion boy, who just turned eight years old, and I’m wondering when the last time he took a fun trip was?
Sigh. Sometimes I really wish I had lived during some other period in history.