"Beggars Can't Be Choosers"
God created Man in His own image (Gen. 1:27). Sin however, has certainly made Man less like God than he was before the fall. As a result of his sinful character, he no longer reflects the holiness of God. However, no matter how much the image of God is marred by sin, or illness, or weakness, or age, or any other disability, every single human being has the status of being in God's image and, therefore, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, as an image-bearer of God.
One evening, as I returned from work, an elderly gentleman, perhaps in his seventies, looked at me. Then, when our eyes met, he asked, “Can you give me some money?" I felt nudged to give him some.
There is no dignity in begging. Begging is the most undignified, degrading and humiliating act we can imagine. I was saddened to see this man, created in God's image, asking for money.His well-dressed appearance did not suggest he was a street beggar, and therefore I assumed his family had not provided him with spending money. He hung his head as I reached for my wallet. His face brightened when I gave him a few dollars, and he said, “Thank you brother! ”
Life can be hard sometimes, and things don't always go our way. In the right circumstances, tragedy can strike anyone. We could suffer from serious health problems, drug addiction, mental illness, job loss, or any number of other challenges. Just like anyone else, we, too, could find ourselves homeless, penniless, and possibly begging. The cause of beggary can be poverty, landlessness, unemployment or underemployment, calamities or famines, negligence or refusal to provide financial support by family members, or other economic conditions.
Whether we should give to beggars can be a complex question. Too often our response is to walk faster and to let our eyes slide away. Some people beg full-time and probably make more money than they do working somewhere else. There is a possibility that they will spend it on drugs or alcohol.
Don't close off your heart when the Holy Spirit nudges you to give to beggars.
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” - Mt. 7:12.
Don't close your heart to the Holy Spirit, but keep it soft and open
Giving cash or purchasing a meal to a homeless person may provide short-term relief, but for that brief moment, it restores dignity to the individual by treating him or her as a human being, God's image bearer, who deserves respect.
We should obey God if He speaks to us and urges us to give money. We don't know why God wants to give money to that particular person. It may just be that God wants to feed him lunch. It could be that God wants the beggar to know that He is listening to him; that He cares for him, and that He wants to provide him with what he needs at that time.
We are called to be salt and light in the world, and to serve others in order to glorify Your name. Help me to hear the cries of the oppressed. Let me be your voice of love and acceptance. Let me be your feet walking beside those in need. Let me be your hands to clothe, feed, and shelter them.
Please grant us the grace to share the comfort of Christ with all those who long for his healing touch.
In Jesus' name I pray, amen.