Beggars in Search of Bread

beggars

“A Christian is a beggar who gets to tell other beggars where the bread is.”  Dr. Steve Brown

I read that quote on Twitter a few days ago. I love it.  It made me think of one of my favorite topics: breadcrumbs…His breadcrumbs.

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Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. ~  Matthew 15:21-28

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Whenever I read this exchange between Jesus and Gentile woman who cried out for help it resonates deeply with me. At first glance, Jesus response seems unloving and insulting. Yet, Jesus was testing this woman’s faith.

Are you desperate enough and hungry enough that you will courageously seek the healing you need even though shame has been shouting at you all your life that you shouldn’t seek anything better?

Rick Lawrence, in his book, Skin in the Game, poses a great question and explanation about the exchange. “How would we respond to Him if we were in the woman’s sandals? We have two choices. We can agree with the story our shame is telling us about ourselves and scurry back from the precipice of epic possibility. Or we can stand with our eyes flashing and our chin jutted and declare that it will no longer matter how others have defined us, no matter how respected or impressive or powerful they may be.  It. Will. No. Longer. Matter.

Jesus interrogated and pushed this woman.

“Jesus will set off an earthquake in our soul if it will spring loose our prison door.” Rick Lawrence

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In one way, it reminded me of the account of Jesus pressing Peter after he had fearfully denied even knowing Jesus.

Jesus asked him the same question three times in a row.

“Peter,  do you love me?”

It’s as if Jesus is speaking right to the condition of Peter’s heart. Will your failure and shame define you or will I define you?

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And then, fast forward to the day Peter, the same Peter who had fearfully denied Christ, came upon a lame beggar sitting outside the Beautiful Gate. The beggar thought he needed one thing but Peter extended to him what he truly needed, the Bread of Life. (Act 3) 

“A Christian is a beggar who gets to tell other beggars where the bread is.”

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I was a divorced woman.  I was a divorced woman whose ex-husband was serving time in a federal prison. I was a woman who spent years running away from her problems and hiding from her shame. I was a woman who had spent years numbing her pain with bottles of wine. Similar to Peter, when the reality and difficulty of life and the situation I was in became too hard and too uncomfortable to face, I was a woman who ran away from Jesus.

I was the beggar with Beauty within arms reach, asking the wrong question and looking in the wrong direction. 

Shame was loud. You don’t deserve my bread. You’ve gone too far in the wrong direction.

 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

But the hunger for healing and freedom was louder. You, Jesus, are my only HOPE. Please, Lord, just a crumb of your goodness, just a crumb of your love, just a crumb of your healing.

 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

“I never thought I’d get
Even a second chance
But you’ve given that, and so much more
And then for every time I ever did deny,
You asked me if I love you
You know I do, Lord”
Third Day – Can’t Take the Pain

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The other night I woke up in the middle of the night with a thought rolling around my brain:

You know, I think that thief on the cross who hung next to Jesus would have been happy with just a few leftover crumbs too.

But Jesus promised him the feast of paradise.

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NOTE:  I’ve shared the above words before but I keep coming back to them over and over.

Breadcrumbs: If we search for them with all our hearts those pieces of manna will keep us walking along the path that leads us through the beautiful gate and into the arms of our Healer.

3 thoughts on “Beggars in Search of Bread

  1. Loretta

    Hi Eileen, this is so good, powerful even. Thank you for it. My word for this year is beautiful. As I was praying about what my word should be, I read a blog post of yours where you wrote about the beggar and Peter and and the Gate called Beautiful. And I knew what my word needed to be.

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      That story is one of my favorites in scripture! And your word for the year is great. Would love to hear about the things you are learning from choosing it!

      By the way, “Skin in the Game” is a wonderful book, if you haven’t read it yet. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Jody Collins

    Eileen, stopping by, thanks to Glynn’s tweet. You may have shared these words before but it’s the first time I’ve read them.
    Beautiful and full of hope. Thank you.

    Reply

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