Becoming a Beggar – A Christmas Reflection

A few weeks back, I had an amazing conversation with a trusted friend and mentor. While he would never admit it, he’s older (ssshhhhh…). He is currently battling cancer, which has certainly not diminished his insight or willingness to let younger turkeys like myself ask him questions about everything from church to good books to the meaning of life.

He said something almost in passing that has stuck with me all night long. It was regarding God’s guidance. He said, “I would encourage you to become a beggar. One who literally begs God for His guidance.” He wasn’t suggesting that God gives his guidance begrudgingly, but I believe he was suggesting the Parable of the Persistent Widow had something to it. God generally responds to faith and humility rather than presumption.

I have been through seasons where I would say the begging thing was both necessary and natural for me. However, if I’m honest, it has never been a way of life. Perhaps it’s not supposed to be. Perhaps we reach a point where we rest in confidence that God means us no harm and is “for us.” The problem with this is when we get jump the theological shark by coming to believe if God is “for us” then whatever we do must be something God is for. BIG difference.

It seems to me that even if God is “for us,” the more humble and dependent we become and remain, the better followers of Christ we will be. Humility isn’t antithetical to boldness or courage. It’s what separates boldness and courage from rudeness and recklessness. The beggar way of life reminds us that without God, we dare not try to take one step alone. It reminds us of the absolute necessity of God’s presence. Without Him, we can do nothing. Through Him, we can do all things.

Jesus is God come near. Jesus is with us always. It’s Christmas time, and the incarnation reminds us of God’s bias toward guiding, protecting, redeeming, calling, and providing. In Christ, God reveals himself fully–including His predisposition toward proximity. In Christ, we see how God would have us to live, and we see that faith and healthy dependence on Him based in humility pleases Him and brings blessing. Whether it’s the woman with bleeding, the Centurion, or people today, Jesus is pleased with faith in his goodness and power. In Jesus, God has come near.

Now, let us beg. Let us seek to touch even the hem of His garment knowing we must do so to be made well, to be guided, to have strength to press ahead. If we cry out, we, like her, may hear him say, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Let us seek and find. Let us knock and behold Him opening the door. Let us beg…and receive from His hand. He is here and He is near. Let us rejoice and sing!

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14

Note: This material is adapted from a previous post. The mentor mentioned above has since gone to be with the Lord.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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