A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine whom we’ll call Tom offered to me a great truth that sadly too many of us, including me, tend to forget.
This simple truth sums up in one sentence what we are to be as followers or disciples of Jesus Christ. Tom said, “We are just one beggar sharing with another beggar where to find the bread.”
Simple, short, powerful, and 100 percent correct. For those of us, who are Christians, we just finished celebrating the highest Holy Day in the Christian faith, Easter Sunday two Sundays ago. I’d like to share some thoughts with you, in my column today, about that simple analogy: We are just one beggar sharing with another beggar where to find the bread.
Sadly, many who call themselves Christians don’t know this truth or have forgotten it. In our society, we are bombarded with messages on radio, TV and the press to be number one, never give an inch, be powerful, aggressive, be the winner, be the victor, be rich and famous, and of course you need to dress to impress. So how do we even attempt to comprehend such a statement telling us we are a beggar showing another beggar where to fine the bread as a definition of what it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?
The “worldly wisdom” mentioned above is literally the opposite of the wisdom that Jesus both taught in his teachings and lived each day.
Jesus was a humble, kind and generous person. He didn’t look out for his best interest, but instead the best interest of others. Jesus said that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Do to others as you’d want them to do to you. We call that the Golden Rule. Today that golden rule has been subverted into this: Do to others before they do it to you.
See? Worldly wisdom is opposite of what Jesus taught and did.
I hear some radio and TV evangelists telling their audiences about the so called “Prosperity Gospel.” Become a Christian and live on easy street. That isn’t what Jesus taught. Christ said, To daily take up your cross and follow me. The world will hate you, because of me.
So how do we, in our modern, high tech, glitzy world relate to and identify with being a beggar?
Consider this, God created the universe, a universe that is millions of light years in size. Remember a light year is defined as how far light travels in an earth year (365 days). Light travels at 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second). A light year is about 5.88 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).
The nearest star, after our sun, is the star system of Alpha Centauri, which is about 4.7 light years away. The universe is billions of light years in size. So our planet is like a grain of sand at the beach. We are micro-organisms living on that grain of sand. Sort of overwhelming when you think of it this way.
God, the creator, sent his Son Jesus Christ to become like us so that he could pay the price for our sinfulness. This way we are welcomed at his banquet table. All we have to do is say “yes” repent — that is be sorry for of our sins, and allow God to shower us with his grace, love, and forgiveness. We have nothing, when compared to God the creator of the universe and all that is in it. So we are like a beggar who has nothing to offer, and as the beggar is depended on others for help, we are depended on God.
Each of us, who is a follower of Jesus Christ is one beggar sharing with another beggar where to find the bread. The bread is Jesus Christ.
Talk is cheap. The world is full of talk, endless talk. Most of it selfish talk. We as followers of Christ, are supposed to be different from the rest of the world. Sadly, too many of us prefer to mirror the “world’s” image rather than that of Christ.
We forget that we are still sinners, who have been saved by God’s grace. Christ did it all, we did nothing, but say YES to his invitation. We are called by Jesus to make disciples of all nations.
How do we do that? Simply live our lives as Jesus did. Saint Francis of Assisi said: “Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words.” Many folks have said, “I like your Jesus, but don’t like his followers.”
Why? Because these folks aren’t seeing us treating others as Jesus did. First century Romans said of Christians then, “Look how they love one another.”
When was the last time you heard anyone say that about today’s Christians? Too many of us get puffed up in our own self worth, because of what we have in Christ and forget that Christ did it all. Our arrogance turns many folks away from finding Christ.
As we’ve just celebrated Jesus freely going to the Cross, to shed his blood for each of us, and then rising from the dead on Easter Sunday, we need to re-read the words of Jesus. We need to be reminded of what he said and did, because each of us, as his followers, are just one beggar sharing with another beggar where to find the bread.
Mike Cannatelli’s column appears every other week in both the Avon Grove Sun and Kennett News and on occasion in the online edition.