It happened again this week. I got chewed out on the phone by someone asking for money. Every church gets those calls, and every so often, they turn nasty. No one wants to hear church policy about aid (in our case, we require people to attend a service and then meet with the benevolence team), and they certainly don't want to abide by those rules. (Hear the gospel before getting assistance from a church? Never!) They expect us, as churches, to simply give them whatever they want, no questions asked, because that's just what churches do. So when I (and other people in other churches) tell them the procedures instead of signing a check immediately, things can get ugly.
Of course, as the saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. As stewards of the gifts given by our members, we have a responsibility to set guidelines for how we help other people. It's our duty to determine if someone is lying to us as well as to share the gospel and give counsel in the process of helping. Nevertheless those facts are rarely a welcome reality; while some people readily accept and meet (and worship) with us, most just seem to want the free lunch.
We all do, really, albeit in different ways. Even if someone never enters the church office asking for help, we still want to have our cake and eat it, too. We want blanket forgiveness, the ability to sin without a need to repent or to be held accountable for our actions. And when we find out our actions have consequences, that we do in fact have to ask for forgiveness, that one day we will stand before the judgment throne of God and face eternity in hell, well, we get angry. That's not how a loving God should behave. We want what we want, and we want it now, no strings attached. We want the free lunch.
But there's no such thing as a free lunch. We must be ready to face judgment. Prepare to meet thy God.