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Foundations For Our Future #73

Foundations for Our Future (73)

by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler


Begging is one of the most humiliating of actions. It destroys pride, for it puts a man at the absolute mercy of another. It is an excruciating experience to beg. And it is so rarely successful. To turn the eye away from a beggar, to tell a man “no” when he asks for help, is so easy and so natural that we all do it with ease. Even when it is not really begging, but an organization or person asking us for a contribution to a good cause, we turn off the radio, or throw the envelope in the trash.Today, Jesus seems to be telling us that we may not do this to another human being (Matthew 5:42). It may be alright to decline a cause, but it is not alright to turn away my brother.

Perhaps one of the most memorable of Jesus’ teachings is that recorded in the 25th chapter of Matthew. “I was hungry and you fed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was thirsty and you gave me water to drink.” Our Lord seems to tell us that he is the beggar. He is the desperate borrower.

To see other people as God sees them is difficult. It is so easy to decide that their difficulties are their own fault, or that it is the result of laziness, or stupidity. But the Lord does not give us this wiggle room. “Give to the one who begs from you.” it is a command.