I thought since God wants his children to represent him and live in prosperity, he would be very angry with those who beg. I was however surprised to discover (when I read the story of Lazarus, the beggar and the rich man again today) that God doesn’t hate beggars!
I don’t know how Lazarus the beggar begged but the bible says he was a beggar and laid at the rich man’s gate. Maybe he was lame and couldn’t walk or he was blind and couldn’t see but he was helpless somewhat such that he had to be laid at the rich man’s gate. Since he was by his gate perpetually, that means he had no home to return to and spend nothing on shelter or transport. His basic need was food and the rich man had a lot of food to an extent that he could throw a party every day. The implication is that giving Lazarus three proper meals daily and taking care of his wound would not have affected his finances adversely. He could do that without an itch.
However, as basic and simple as this responsibility appears, the rich man probably did not fulfill it well enough if he did at all; because the bible says Lazarus desired crumbs which fell from his table! If he was given a part of the meal, he wouldn’t have desired the crumbs.
….desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.(Luke 16:21)
Eventually Lazarus died and was carried by the angels of God into Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22) but when the rich man died, he was not carried by God’s angels, rather he went to hell. God was not angry with Lazarus for begging; rather he was angry with the rich man who did not take care of him.(Luke 16:25)
We as Christians should be like our father, we should have compassion on those who are in need around us. We should not criticize people because they are in a disadvantaged position. It’s not everyone who is poor that is lazy. Some people are not intelligent enough to do some things you can do to make money while some don’t have the opportunities you have.
God brought you into that abundance for a purpose
There is nothing you have that you have not received, and God has a purpose for allowing you to have it.
For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it(1 Cor 4:7)
Is there any advantage you have over your brethren? Do you have more knowledge, ideas, materials, time or money? Don’t limit the benefits of your blessing to yourself and family. God has not brought you into the abundance just for you to enjoy and hoard the remaining. You must use it to improve the lives of other Christians around you.
Abundance of money, food and material wealth
Once, there was a famine in Israel because the Syrians surrounded their city with the intention of fighting against them. There were four lepers at the gate of Samaria since they were not allowed to live among their brethren in the city. The famine hit the lepers too and they contemplated on what to do. If they went inside the city, there would be no food for them; therefore, they decided to go to the camp of the Syrians to seek food. (2 Kings chapter 7:1-4) While they were going to the Syrians’ camp, God made the army of the Syrians to hear their little steps as the noise of chariots and the noise of horses – the noise of a great army. The Noise made the army of Syriansassume the king of Israel had hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack them. They were afraid and fled leaving all their supplies. The hungry lepers met a camp full of varieties of food free of charge. They were able to eat as much as they wanted but the reason why God used them and brought them into that abundance was not just to feed them. They were Israelites and had a right to an abundance of food but God used their footsteps to make his promise of abundance to come to pass and deliver Israel from that famine (2 Kings 7:1). If they remained there and continued living on the spoil all alone, then calamity would have fallen on them.
Abundance of time
Some Christians have more time than others. Spend the time to do things that bring honour to God and help others around you. Many don’t have enough time for what they want to do. If you have spare time, you can assist them. You could even create a job for yourself in the process.
Esther in the bible was taken to the palace to become a queen, the wife of King Ahasuerus because God wanted her to save Israel. She had to rise to the challenge, fast, pray and go to the king (though against the law) to spare the Israelites whom Haman planned to kill. If Esther failed, she would have been killed along with the other Israelites.(Esther 2:17, 4:7-14)
For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”(Esther 4:14)
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish! (Esther 4:16)
Find out the relevance of that position you occupy to your brethren. Who knows whether God allowed you to have that blessing because of a problem that affects his children?
This message is not an excuse forChristians to become beggars. Paul encouraged us to labour and support the weak rather than live on others.
“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”(Acts 20:35)
..that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you. (1 Thess. 4:11)
nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, ( 2 Thess. 3:8)
Discover the reason for your money, materials, time or position. If you are not sure, just find how that gift can advance the kingdom of God. Even if someone comes to you begging, don’t despise him or her, do what is within your capacity to assist him or her. On the other hand, if you have had to beg for anything, think of how you can work with your hands to have more than you need and become a giver.