beggars_breadBilly Ray Harris has lived on the streets in southeast Michigan for the past two years. In mid-February a woman accidentally dropped her engagement ring into the cup that Mr. Harris used for collecting coins. While some may have immediately went to a pawn shop, Mr. Harris knew the right thing to do was try to give it back to the woman. The day after Ms. Darling accidentally gave-away her ring she went looking for the homeless man. He was more than glad to give the ring back to its owner. “I think in our world we often jump to like the worst conclusion, and it just makes you realize that there are good people out there,” Darling said.

Martin Luther, the German Protestant Reformer, once remarked, “We are all beggars. This is true.” In the eyes of God, we are all grace-beggars. No matter what our socioeconomic level, nationality, race, or gender, we all stand on common ground in need of grace. Grace-beggars. We all are in need of grace. It might be that our life is not perfect, marriage is in shambles, children are rebellious, or  facing a moral dilemma. Grace-beggars standing together in need of mercy. It has been said that we are simply beggars showing other beggars where to find bread.

The story of Mr. Harris reminds me of something I heard told by Rev. Dr. Tom Long, homiletic professor at Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

He says, “A student of mine went jogging with his father in their urban neighborhood. As they ran, the son shared what he was learning in seminary about urban ministry, and the father, an inner city pastor, related experiences of his own. At the halfway point in their jog, they decided to phone ahead for a home delivered pizza. As they headed for the phone, however, a homeless man approached them, asking for spare change. The father reached into the pockets of his sweat pants and pulled out two handfuls of coins. ‘Here,’ he said to the homeless man. ‘Take what you need.”

The homeless man, hardly believing his good fortune, said, “I’ll take it all,” scooped the coins into his own hands, and went his way. It only took a second for the father to realize that he now had no change for the phone. ‘Pardon me,’ he beckoned to the homeless man. ‘I need to make a call. Can you spare some change?’ The homeless man turned and held out the two handfuls of coins. ‘Here,’ he said. ‘Take what you need.”

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found – Was blind, but now I see. Thank God for messy, extravagant grace. As you approach God in need of grace listen for the words, “Here, take what you need.”

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3 thoughts on “Grace-Beggars

  1. And what a Grace your post.
    I found tears welling up and thinking “wow, Christianity is so good”.
    It’s good for me, good for the world.

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