How do you feel about a beggar at your door?
Perhaps, like me, you have people who come to your door asking for handouts. (I suspect I see more of that because I’m a minister, but others have the same experience.) It happened again recently, somebody new at my door needing a little help to get him by until he gets paid.
Sometimes, I confess, I resent being asked for money. I begin to think that it’s unfair for others to expect me to just give them what I have earned. I start to recall Scriptures like “"If a man will not work, he shall not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). I think, “Why should I help someone who hasn’t helped himself?”
But, on my better days my heart softens when I remember that I am the beggar at the door.
Everyday, I ask God to give me mercy that I don’t deserve. And, he gives it, knowing that I’ll squander it and be back soon begging for more. He knows that I come by repeatedly and still he opens the door to me – the beggar at his door.
Everyday, I come knocking on his door asking for forgiveness that I know I can never repay. And, he and I both know that I’m not really doing everything I could to improve my performance. Instead, I come begging at his door.
Everyday, my begging goes well beyond the forgiveness for which I ask. I get up every morning asking for health for myself and my family – health that I can’t earn. I breathe air that I did nothing to make for myself, and I enjoy food that his seed, soil, and sunshine produced. For my very existence, I am the beggar at the door.
There is good news for us beggars. Jesus told a story once of two men who went to God’s house to pray. One was proud of his religiosity and thanked God aloud that he wasn’t like the low-life people around him. The other hung his head and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
The good news is that the beggar at God’s door, “not the other, went home made right with God” (Luke 18:10, The Message).
God is good to beggars. When next I stand at his door, hat in hand, begging for his mercy, I hope to see you there, another beggar at his door.