Title: Begging And The Christian
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Begging is the act of earnestly or humbly asking someone for something. What is being asked for can range from tangible things to the not so tangible. It can be food, money or support of any form, physical or spiritual. It will be expected that the one who is begging for anything has a need for that thing but does not possess it and lacks the ability to do so hence, such resorts to begging. It can therefore be concluded that the one who is begging has a need that he/she is not in a position to meet. Going by this definition and the reality that everyone has a need but no one is self sufficient in life, it will be safe to conclude that everyone will have to beg at one point or the other. The one who begs is called a beggar, so it can also be concluded that everyone at some point will be a beggar. Because the act of begging is aimed at meeting lacking needs, it cannot be seen on its own as negative especially for one who is ambitious in life, a character trait that is necessary for anyone who is success minded. No matter how high one may be on the social, spiritual or any kind of ladder for that matter, there will always be the need to beg for one thing or the other. Begging will also have to be directed at the right person for it to meet its objectives. A wrongly directed act of begging will fail, no matter how earnest or sincere the beggar may be.
Why will anyone want to criticise or condemn the act of begging? It is simply because for some, the begging is not because of reasons that can justify their act of begging or may be wrongly directed. Just as earlier stated, there must be a need and an obvious inability to meet the need with the request directed at the one that is well positioned to grant the request. That does not seem to be the case with majority of people because most people who beg today are;
- Probably begging to meet a want which is different from a need. A need is something that is essential and very important whilst a want is just a desire which if not possesed will not in all honesty, adversely affect the living of the one begging. The one begging for example to meet up a celebration expense has a desire to build a good public image which may indeed improve him/her but it is definitely not life threatening or life changing request just as the one begging for food may actually be facing a life threatening situation but the act may not be justified if there is no reason why such cannot seek a source of living on his/her own outside the option of begging for food. There must be clear evidence that the beggar is handicapped to the extent that the need cannot be met by his/her personal efforts.
- Most beggars today are probably trying to meet a greed level. It is not the case that they do not have but they are aspiring to a level that will meet a greed desire and want to do so by illegally and deceitfully depriving other hardworking people of their earned possessions. Begging with this intention can never be justified.
- Some beggars have actually upgraded the act of begging into a profession. They wake up in the morning with the sole aim of convincing people to give out their hard earned income with the intention to deceive that they are not capable or are in need. They decide to make begging their main source of income.
- For some beggars, it actually helps to take care of their indolent lifestyle. They just want to live off people by giving the impression that they are handicapped in some way in meeting their life needs.
- For majority of beggars however, the wrongness of their act of begging is the one to whom they direct their request. Based on unfounded evidence, they conclude that the one they are directing their request to is in a position to grant it. This most times is not a true assessment because the one been so regarded may just have the ability to manage his/her resources very well thus giving the impression of having an inexhaustible reservoir, and may not be able to accommodate the request of the beggar.
It is all the above and more that makes the act of begging become a negative one especially for the Christian.
As much as it may not be possible as a progressive minded human being to avoid begging, the one with self dignity, which is what every responsible human being is expected to have, would be properly guided if and when he/she has to beg. This is because a major effect of begging on the individual is the humiliation if the person’s personality. This involves the damage and self pride of the beggar as the act requires a conscious and obvious admission that the beggar is inferior to the one whom the begging act is directed else the begging request may not be accepted. To make this a daily or regular act without shame indicates a human being who has lost self value. This act presents the beggar as one without value, at least in that area of need. This will not be the case of the beggar has a value to give in exchange for what is been desired. In that situation, it will be seen as an attempt to convince another to exchange a need for a service that the beggar possesses. The beggar clearly has a value which will be rated by the one to whom the request is directed in order to determine whether the request is justified. Such begging, no one will ever condemn as everyone will need to do such to progress in life, but any other form of begging that does not involve the exchange of value will end up devalueing the personality of the beggar.
Although the Bible does not out rightly condemn the act of begging, it will definitely not support a situation where a Christian will constantly project the image of a value-less person. The Christian does not have to meet a need by losing self esteem as it will be expected that a Christian in most cases should have acquired value that can be exchanged for the requested need. In that situation, it will not be seen as begging but offering of a service in exchange for the need. A Christian should never be comfortable with begging, not because a Christian has everything he/she needs but because a Christian should be able to direct all requests to meet needs to the all providing God. He it is that is capable of providing all needs without sorrow including the sorrow of humiliation – Prov. 10:22.
A Christian who delights in begging to the point of making it a profession may not be able to experience the prosperity of Jehovah Jireh – Gen. 22:14. This is because such has stopped seeing the Almighty God as the provider and has chosen to depend on men who he/she feels are in a better position to provide.
Begging would be better excused if it is aimed at improving the value of the individual rather than aimed at meeting targeted needs or worse still, wants. That at least ensures that the person will not go back begging on another occasion.
Lack is not an incapacitation so the one who lacks cannot use that as an excuse to justify begging. The story of the four lepers who decided to beg at the city gate of Samaria has revealed that if the one that is begging decides to do the needful, he/she will not only take care of his/her need but may also be able to provide for others so begging aimed at directly relieving that lack cannot be the only solution to the challenge of lack as it has the possibility of eventually creating a leprous-lioe type of social isolation where people begin to avoid the Christian. He/she is seen more as a liability that should be avoided at all costs. – 2Kgs. 7:3-20.
It may become a necessity that one needs to beg but what is not acceptable is to lack ambition because of the lack. It is important to remain ambitious and properly focused, even in that humiliating condition in order to access the very first opportunity to escape such situations. Bartholomew was blind and begging but his reasoning was not blind as he was able to identify the opportunity that will end his status as a beggar – Mk. 10:46-52. As soon as he knew it was Jesus Christ, he did not beg for money but begged for permanent review of his status unlike the lame beggar at the temple gate called Beautiful. He was still expecting alms even when there was an opportunity to change his status as a beggar, staring at him. He was however lucky as Peter went further than his request and helped him out of his beggarly status – Acts 3:1-10.
The Christian must realise that it remains a choice to remain in the status of a beggar and definitely not due to. Lazarus had all the opportunity to solve the challenge of lack that was in his life and change his status as a beggar but chose to remain as a beggar as the Bible reveals that “he loved to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table”, because in his righteous state, as confirmed after his death (Lk. 16:22), he could have asked the Lord to change his situation like Jabez did and it would have been a different story for him – 1Chr. 4:9-10.
It can never be acceptable for the Christian to choose to remain a beggar for whatever reason. The Almighty God whom we serve is a rewarder (provider) for all those who diligently seek him – Heb. 11:6. You may not be a millionaire but he surely will ensure that you are like a tree that brings forth its fruit in due season since as a Christian, you are actually rooted in Him and he is able to nourish you – Psa. 1:3. The psalmist acknowledges that the ability of God to provide for His own when he stated that the young of the lion may lack but those who fear the Lord will NOT lack good things – Psa. 34:10. So when next there is a need to take care of a lack, honestly examine your status in him and assure yourself that you are still in him, let him know about the lack and patiently wait for him to respond. He will definitely respond. Of course He will send someone to meet that need but it will never be in a manner that will humiliate you. He may actually direct your movement in a manner similar to that of Elijah to your own designated widow who will meet that need but then you can be sure that such a person will never reject your request or humiliate you as your presence in the life of that person will be positive 1Kgs. 17:7-24. Peter lacked money to pay tax and approached Jesus with his request, who did not beg but with the help of his father was able to get money from an unusual source which paid the value of the tax of both of them Matt. 17:24-27. The prophet and his widow were indebted and shame was all over her but the moment she approached the Lord through Elijah, all her shame turned to praise – 2Kgs. 4:1-7.
You are not a Christian to be humiliated but humiliation is not too far from you if you choose to beg man rather than focus on the Lord when in need. You do not even have to pray for too long as he already knows your needs and all He is waiting for is your request – Matt. 6:7-8. Cast all those requests on Him and experience His care for you – Psa. 55:22; 1Pet. 5:7. No beggar is ever allowed into the midst of important dignitaries. Do not turn yourself into an outcast because of your begging mentality. Resolve today not to beg in a manner that demeans you and plead with God to input value into your life. It is not arrogance, it is knowing who you are as a Christian. The son/daughter of the God that owns the heaven, earth and all that is it – Psa. 82:6; 24:1. Begin to live the life of self sufficiency in Him by developing the right mental attitude and you will begin to reflect the personality of the true Christian. May God bless you as you do so in Jesus name. Amen.