I’ll be honest, more often than not when I pass a homeless person or someone begging on the side of the road I give them nothing more than a smile. Maybe, just maybe, if I happen to have extra food in my car and the light doesn’t change, I’ll give them of my excess, but that’s as far as I go. Perhaps it is the time of year or the way my husband inspires me (more on that later), but I’ve been struck by beggars more lately. (Struck in the sense that I can’t simply pass them by without a notice, not struck in the sense that they are hitting my car – to be clear!)
How different am I from them, really? I may not stand on a street corner with a sign and ask/beg for help, but don’t I essentially do the same thing with God? In fact, all too often, I’m too proud to even ask God for help. I’m too proud to be found in the confessional line, instead believing that I’m not that bad off yet.
Do I know each of these people’s stories? Do I know why they are where they are? No, I don’t. My husband sees the same few people on his way home from work day in and day out. He stops to ask their name or ask them what they’d like for Christmas. When I drive by those same spots I’m excited to see the people he knows and be able to greet them by name. Knowing their name makes it all the more real for me – who am I to turn them away when God could just as easily do the same with me?
There comes a time when I give up the prideful show and stand in the confessional line. My sign may not be as visible as those on the street corners, but my sins, no doubt, bring me just as much shame. Do I want to be in that line, begging for forgiveness? Begging for mercy or for love from God? No. I’d rather do it on my own, I’d rather make my own way. Instead of turning me away, He welcomes me in, knows my name and shows me a love I couldn’t dream of. Whether on a street corner or the confessional line (or at home too proud to admit I need His mercy), there’s a beggar in all of us. Deep down I’d be willing to bet that each of us wants the mercy God offers, the tenderness of His glance, or simply for Him to speak our names rather than be passed by without so much as a second glance. There’s a beggar in me and there’s a beggar in you because at the end of the day, we are all beggars at God’s door.