Birds Don’t Beg
At most major intersections in this part of the country, it is not uncommon to see someone standing with a sign soliciting help. The sign usually says something about family need, a hungry vet or medical need. We may struggle to determine what our best response should be.
A few years ago I was in East Tennessee. At an intersection near the church building where I was a guest speaker, there was a man one morning all bundled up with a sign about his family in need; unemployed, sick children and no formula for baby (all written on the sign). There was a look about the man that touched me. I decided the next day I would inquire further and see if I might invite him to the meeting and perhaps provide some individual help. The next day came. As I pulled up to the intersection I saw the exact same sign, but the man was not the same man! I later found out, there is a man in the city who runs the begging community. He provides the signs, sends his “employees” to the various intersections and takes his cut of the donations. The signs do not represent the actual needs of the sign-holder.
Perhaps you have noticed something else about this fixture in our society. Have you ever seen a bird on the corner with a sign: “Please Help. Four Hatchlings and No Food.”
Birds are very busy creatures. They work hard for their food and to feed and shelter their young. Who makes that possible? And what does that say to us?
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his right-eousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25-34