Last week was the hottest week in Bucharest since we arrived in February. It was in the 90’s every day with many days having a heat advisory to stay inside. Regardless of the heat the beggars were still out on the street corners, in front of churches, and on the stairs to the metro as usual. The verse “"Whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42) came to mind as I passed one beggar I see every week. I felt the Spirit of God telling me I should buy him a bottle of water. As always when I am prompted by the Lord to give something to a beggar, I had the same thoughts and feelings come to the surface this day as well. “But I know most of the beggars are trafficked by the mafia here. I’m not supposed to give them anything. And, (the feelings I always had in the States) he should get a job or at least try to. Why should I help him when he just sits here all day every day?”
To this the Lord’s response was, “Mark, when I came to earth to extend grace, salvation, and eternal life where you seeking me? Was anyone seeking me? As it says in Romans 3:11, ‘There are none who seek for God.’ People weren’t out looking for a solution to their sin problem, and they weren’t seeking after me. They were just sitting there in their sins.”
I then realized what a picture a beggar is of us in relation to our Lord. Jesus found us while we were spiritual beggars who had no hope or chance of ever getting off the proverbial “streets”. We deserved no help, we earned no help, and we weren’t even seeking the type of help we truly needed. In that moment when we deserved nothing, we were given everything. Grace, we are reminded, is not earned. Grace is given by God to people who will most definitely abuse that grace. Grace is given in abundance even though God knows the slogan, “Give an inch and they will take a mile.” Grace is given by God not just to the undeserving, but it is given to His enemies.
That day I was reminded that I didn’t deserve His grace, will never deserve it, and will continue to abuse it through continuing to sin as long as I am alive. I am the beggar who continually gets hand-outs my entire life. Giving a bottle of water to a beggar ultimately brought to mind one single question, “Why give something to someone who will most likely abuse, misuse, be unappreciative of the gift and forever demand more of your gift?” To this I heard from our Lord, “Because I did.”