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Sakkie Parsons

Translated from Afrikaans:
Translator:  Lynda Botha

Someone wrote and asked my opinion regarding begging and beggars.

I would like to share with you what I wrote to this person.

Firstly, of course, I always look to see what I can find in the highest authority that our Lord gave to me to study, which is the Word of our Lord.
Then, as I understand it, I saw that our Lord always had compassion for beggars but for beggars, if I can put it like this, that have a legal "legitimate reason" for begging. I could have used the word “valid” instead of using “legal”, but I believe, if I understand the Word correctly, the word “legal” would be in some cases, concerning Christians, a better choice in wording. Here are some examples:

A man who suffers from a terrible disease:

LUKE 16:20-22
20 “At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.”
21 “As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.”
22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet.”

Then there’s the blinded Bartimaeus.

MARK 10:46-52
46 “Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and His disciples left town, a large crowd followed Him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.”
47 “When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 “Be quiet! “many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 “When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So, they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, He’s calling you!”
50 “Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.”
51 “What do you want Me to do for you? “Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”
52 “And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.”

Another example, namely the lame man at the temple gate:

ACTS 3:1-8
1 “Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service.”
2 “As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in.  Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple.”
3 “When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.”
4 “Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!”
5 “The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money.”
6 “But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you.  But I’ll give you what I have.  In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
7“Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened.”
8 “He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.”

In this last example something that is given to a beggar is called alms, I now would like to show you how our Lord looks after people that distributes alms.
Firstly, about the word alms; It is described in the dictionary as a showing compassion, pity or mercy by giving money or food to poor people or to the needy; people of a charitable life; a gift given in kind. Just see how our Lord feels about people who have a compassionate feeling in their hearts to give alms to where it’s really needed:

ACTS 9:36-40
36 “There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas).  She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor.”
37 “About this time she became ill and died.  Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room.”
38  “But the believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, “Please come as soon as possible!”
39  “So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room.  The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them.”
40  “But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed.  Turing to the body he said, “Get up, Thabitha.” And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up!”

In this next example, if you have read the entire part in the Word, you will see, from a human point of view, the extend our Lord has gone through to help this man:

ACTS 10:1-5
1 “In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment.”
2 “He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God.”
3  “One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. “Cornelius!” the angel said.”
4  “Cornelius stared at him in terror.  “What is it, sir?” he asked the angel. And the angel replied, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!”
5  “Now send some men to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter.”

My wife and I do almost all our purchases with a card, but I have always ensured, when my wife could still drive, that I always had cash in the car specifically for the purpose of giving alms.  Now, I will however say something that will shock many people, for sure.  I do not give alms to everyone who asks. I certainly won’t give to someone who smells of liquor or smoke something.  If you bought liquor, you had money for food.  If you smoke, you also had money for food.

I know in many cases the grey area, to whom I give or not, is large, but I believe if I live near our Lord, I will hear His voice clear enough, so no one can exploit it.

I share with you an example in my life:

By chance, nearby where we were living, there was a parking area where a middle-aged lady stood every day through scorching sun, thunderstorms, or ice-cold weather, looking after people's cars for alms.

One day my wife and I drove and at the traffic light this big and healthy man walks over to us asking for alms. My wife and I arranged beforehand that she will alert me whenever someone is close or approaching the car.  As he walked over, the Lord reminded me of the middle-aged lady in the parking lot, and of course decided not to give this big and healthy man anything.  Because, there is also written.

10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”
11 “Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business.”
12 “We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.”

So, my friend, let us live close to our Lord, so we can clearly hear His voice, when we should distribute alms and when we shouldn’t encourage a person in their misdeeds - While we remember at the same time when ourselves is concerned:

2 THES 3:13 “As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.”


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Jude 1:24-25 „To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (TNIV)”

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“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – 25 to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." Jude 1:24-25