Following up on the theme from Monday’s post – I mentioned then that my ministry is primarily that of “One beggar telling another begger where I found bread.” Here’s a little illustration:
We don’t really like the idea of begging. When we see beggars in the city, usually we walk a little faster, make sure the doors are locked in the car, pretend they’re not even there. Maybe we think that if you have to beg, then you’ve failed at something in life. We tell our children, “Don’t beg” when they are pestering us for the latest toy begin advertized every five minutes. If you are working hard enough, keeping on the straight and narrow, you should never have to beg, right?
I wonder how many of us feel like begging might become a viable option in the near future. Jobs are scarce, gas is expensive, money’s tight. The thought is terrifying, but “Brother Can you Spare a Dime” might hit the Top 40’s again.
But for just a moment, if we can get past all of the social and cultural stigmas that are associated with begging, we might begin to see how this picture is a pretty accurate description of the Christian life.
Consider for a moment the language that is used in the old prayer books of the church. Today, prayer books are filled with the words like “pray,” “ask,” and “seek;” all very good and appropriate words. But they’ve lost some power. The Presbyterian Book of Worship from 1943, on the other hand, uses words like, “beseech,” “entreat,” “implore,” and even “beg” in its prayers. How many of you would be confortable if your pastor prayed this Sunday, “God we are on our knees begging for your mercy and grace”?
The things is, while these words are out of fashion today, they teach us a lot about how we ought to depend upon God. God is the source of all goodness and life, if there is anything we are wanting, we must turn to God. Bring before God the longings of your heart, look to God for those things which will bring your peace, security, and comfort in life. Come to God with empty hands, asking to be filled.
Then perhaps, as the beggar pictured above, you may find the food you truly desire, the bread of life, the end of hunger and thirst (John 6:35).