File this under "be innocent as doves, but shrewd as serpents" (alternatively, "sheep in the midst of wolves"; see Matthew 10:16):

The Associated Press (AP) ran a story (which I read in the Daytona Beach News-Journal) about a church in Memphis that purchased a $75,000 home for a couple that claimed to be Katrina victims. Joshua and Delores Thompson have sold the home without having ever moved into it and with the plans of moving back to New Orleans. Delores Thompson states "I really don't like this area, I really didn't, and I didn't know anybody, so that's why I didn't move in and I sold it." Joshua Thomspon defends their decision to sell the home: "Take it up with God".

To Mr. and Mrs. Thompson [I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on your identities, although the AP reports that church members "are no longer even sure that the couple were left homeless by Katrina or that they were a couple at all."], I'd ask you to consider what Jesus taught: "Freely you received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8). The church gave you that home under the assumption that you were in need. It didn't cost you a dime. Why not give it back? Why rob them of the ability to help others who are in need?

Meanwhile, I pray that God provides more ways for His people to reach out to those in need.

Edit: Fixed some un-escaped ampersands that were fouling up XHTML validation, and removed tags in lieu of labels.

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