May 22, 2017

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Begging for Bread

Begging for Bread

“He [the LORD] raises the beggar from the dust; He lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honour” (1 Samuel 2:8)

Who wants to be a beggar? Not many people. And that’s for sure! The modern man or woman with 2 cars and a home and a mortgage considers him/herself middle class and doing OK. Thank you very much. On the other hand the man who lives in a completely paid off $ 5 million dollar home with 3 cars and a yacht thinks the person with only 2 cars and a mortgage is socially/economically far below him. And the person who lives by dumpster–diving looks up at the person with 2 cars and knows that he/she is amongst the beggar class in North American Society. What is more, and in clear contrast to the myth of upward mobility, more and more poor and middle class people are economically trapped in place or are on a downward spiral. To-day, as in Jesus’ day, many rich people tend to despise the beggar class. Read the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). Consider also the story of Bartimaeus, in which many people who likely needed help did not cry out to Jesus for help, but Bartimaeus did (Mark 10:46-52). Now consider the story of the Prodigal Son, where the prodigal chose to return to his father who (like our Heavenly Father) loves and welcomes him home, while the elder brother remains wretched, jealous, in emotional pain and spiritually poverty-stricken. (Luke 15: 11-32). Lastly consider that Jesus, Himself, said, “We will always have the poor with us” (Matthew 26:11)

Bible Study Discussion Questions:

  • Who was needier? Lazarus or the Rich Man? the prodigal son or the elder brother? Bartimaeus or the people on the street who did not cry out to Jesus? For each of these pairs of people, how did the needs of each person differ?
  • What duty did the Rich Man owe to Lazarus?
  • How do you feel about Jesus’ statement “We will always have the poor with us”? Why do you think Jesus said that?If you are uncomfortable with that statement, might your discomfort really lie with the broken world that we humans have brought into being beginning with our ancestors Adam and Eve?
  • Whether we are wealthy, middle class or poor, what is our responsibility to help spiritually bring in the Kingdom of God? What is our responsibility to proclaim Christ to all?
  • What did Jesus mean when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”? (Matthew 5:1)
  • How do we all in the end come to Christ, as princes or as beggars?

Another Quote to Consider:

“Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread”

(D.T. Niles)

Written by Heather Whitehouse, ON Chaplain, The Kings Daughters and Sons, June, 2017

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