July 7, 2014
“This is the kind of fast I’m after…when you see the naked, to clothe her.”
Isaiah 58: 7
New International Version
The Beggar King
“When people are serving, life is no longer meaningless.”
John W. Gardner
“What service do I perform that gives meaning to my life?”
“What does love look like? It has hands to help others. It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows. This is what love looks like.”
Augustine of Hippo
“If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord,, and He will repay you!”
Proverbs 19: 17
The Beggar King
“Once there was a time, according to legend, when Ireland was ruled by a king who had no son. The king sent out his couriers to post notices in all the towns of his realm. The notices advised that every qualified young man should apply for an interview with the king as a possible successor to the throne. However, all such candidates must have these two qualifications: They must (1) love God and (2) love their fellow human beings.
The young man about whom this legend centers saw the notice and reflected that he loved God and, also, his neighbors. One thing stopped him, he was so poor that he had no clothes that would be presentable in the sight of the king. Nor did he have the funds to buy provisions for the long journey to the castle. So the young man begged here, and borrowed there, finally managing to scrounge enough money for the appropriate clothes and the necessary supplies.
Properly attired and well-suited, the young man set out on his quest, and had almost completed the journey when he came upon a poor beggar by the side of the road. The beggar sat trembling, clad only in tattered rags. His extended arms pleaded for help. His weak voice croaked, “I’m hungry and cold. Please help me…please?”
The young man was so moved by this beggar’s plea that he immediatelystripped off his new clothes and put on the tattered threads of the beggar. Without a second thought he gave the beggar all his provisions as well. Then, somewhat hesitantly, he continued his journey to the castle. A king’s attendant showed him in to the great hall. After a brief respite to clean off the journey’s grime, he was finally admitted to the throne room of the king.
The young man bowed low before his majesty. When he raised his eyes, he gaped in astonishment. “You…it’s you! You’re the beggar by the side of the road.”
“Yes,” the king replied with a twinkle, “I was that beggar.”
“But…bu…buu…you are not really a beggar. You are the king for real. Well, then, why did you do this to me?” the young man stammered after gaining more of his composure.
“Because I had to find out if you genuinely love God and your fellow human beings.” Said the king. “I knew that if I came to you as king, you would have been impressed by my gem-encrusted golden crown and my royal robes. You would have done anything I asked of you because of my regal character. But that way I would never have known what is truly in your heart. So I used a ruse. I came to you as a beggar with no claims on you except for the love in your heart. And I discovered that you sincerely do love God and your fellow human beings. You will be my successor,” promised the king. “You will inherit my kingdom.”
“Lord, when did we see you naked and clothe you…and He replied, when you clothed the least of my children -- thank you, for you were clothing Me, and you didn’t even know it.”
“Give us big hearts, dear God;
big enough to embrace all our sisters and brothers
especially those in trouble,
whether of their own making
or because of wrongs done to them.
Give us big hearts, dear God;
big enough to acknowledge our own weakness
before pointing the finger at others;
big enough to be humble when blessed with your good gifts,
denied to so many.
Give us big hearts, dear God
to reach out again and again
to those who cannot help themselves
until hope is restored to them,
allow our loving to become more like yours.”
Kathy Keay, England
“When we do the best we can we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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