Everybody begs.

But not everybody is good at it.

The cats beg in the kitchen for food; children beg in the store for candy, husbands beg for favors, wives beg to be listened to. Singles beg God for good mates — or wisely thank God that they don’t have them — less begging.

And people beg for money.  A lot these days.

The other day a man came to me begging for some cash I told him, “No, I’m not going to give you any.” He left, mad.

A younger person looking on asked me why I didn’t give him anything. She said to me, “He said that his wife is pregnant and stranded on the freeway with no gas.’

“I don’t believe it,” I said. “He lied.”

“How can you tell?”she asked.

“When he began by telling me that at one time he was in the NFL I got a clue. When he rolled out the ‘pregant wife stranded on the freeway’  my suspicions geared up, but when he pretty much demanded I help him, then I figured thatI was up against a seasoned manipulator, who really wasn’t that good at begging.”

What if I was wrong?

Then maybe I’ll burn in hell for not helping him — or maybe not. I’m much not afraid because of what I know about God.  God is a God of mercy, and of truth, and He’s not that much into begging.

Well, you might ask: What about the parable of the  persistent widow? Wasn’t she rewarded for persistent begging.

Yes, but what about the man Jesus told to take up his mat and walk? He had to do something himself, for himself, before God helped him. And in the Old Testament, the Jewish people certainly didn’t gain much from begging. The were exiled when they proved to be unfaithful to God.

I do believe that God is into answering requests — and responsibility.

The other day a woman came to my office with one eye socket empty. That was interesting. She looked me full in the face and asked for money. I didn’t giver her any.

I have to confess that it crossed my mind that she had her glass eye in her backpack, and that she took it out just before she came into see me. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I’ve read too much Flannery O’Connor, but I couldn’t help but feel that I was being manipulated.

In the current Presidential election this very  issue is at stake. Do we give people stuff, or do we expect them to step up and take care of themselves?

I know the right answer.

Both.

I felt good the other day when my wife again mailed off our monthly check to pay the fees of four children attending schoool in Tijuana. I like myself when I put other people’s kids through a school they otherwise could not afford. This is a good thing to do.

Foster children, the aged, the oppressed, the abused, the sick — we have lost all heart, all touch with reality and all Christian compassion if we think that everybody can and must take care themselves. They can’t. We must.

But, despite that, next week I’ll probably tell some person who comes to my office begging, “No.”  I do not believe that generosity makes a good partnersship with  stupidity, and I think that the good cease being good when they begin to take their marching orders from liars snd manipulators.

I’ll say “no’ and be okay with that if it seems to me that the missing glass eyeball is in the sack that they brought into the office with them.

Comments
  1. artwidow says:

    Wonderful. I live this every day!

    Connie S. Chambers

    Executive Director

    Good Samaritan Resource Center

    Genesis: A Place of New Beginnings

    573-774-4040

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