Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beggars all

I was looking for gifts for my family back home but I had to walk a gauntlet of beggars first. Lining the sidewalk, they held out bent rusty cups or sometimes a small tray of gum or mashed dolls.

One old woman, shriveled into a tiny mass of wrinkles and dirt, caught my eye. Only the stubs of teeth lined her mouth and she was in rags. In desperation, she shoved a handful of trinkets in front of me. I gave her money.

Beggars are persistent. We’ve had them for centuries, desperate for their next meal and willing to do what it takes to get some help.

When Jesus walked through Jericho on his way to his encounter with Pilate in Jerusalem, he was hailed by a blind beggar. Although the crowd hushed him, the beggar could not be silenced. He was desperate and would not be stopped. He knew his need and he knew where to get help.

Oswald Chambers said, “A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty; he is not ashamed to beg.”

Do I ask God for that which eases my life and fills my lusts? Or do I recognize that I am a beggar, desperate for his help?

“We will never receive if we ask with an end in view; if we ask, not out of our poverty but out of our lust,” said Chambers.

The blind beggar asked Jesus for mercy. Jesus gave him sight.

Do I recognize my own spiritual poverty?

Am I desperate for God’s handout?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

(Matt 5:3)

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