"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

The Importance of Beggars

Posted in Day-To-Day, Photography by matt on Friday, October 7, 2011

Old beggar man checking out his beardRelating to beggars has always been difficult for me.

I’ve read books about it, I’ve studied the way Jesus related to the poor, and I’ve talked circles around the subject, but every time someone on the streets holds out an open palm, I still get that tight feeling in my stomach.

What will they use the money for? Should I just try to get to know them instead? Would they go with me to buy food? Should I even be asking myself these questions?!

Old beggar lady making a grab for my camera bag.

But despite the uncertainty, there is one thing I’m sure of, and I was recently reminded of it after encountering a couple of beggars in our city’s bazaar.

I need them as much–if not more–than they need me. In Matthew 25, Jesus talks about caring for the poor in stark terms. Right after talking about his return to rule the world and to set all things to rights (vs. 31-33), he uses caring for the needy as the litmus test for inheriting the Kingdom of God. Jesus even ups the stakes by saying that caring for the needy actually equals caring for him! So why do I need the poor? Because, if I can’t learn to love and identify with them, how will I ever understand the Kingdom–much less gain it!

What about you? What do you do when approached by a beggar? Anything you’ve learned or helpful scriptures you’d be willing to share?

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