Psalm 37 and believers begging bread

Status
Not open for further replies.

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
When I was a child, a fellow church member said, in my hearing, that beggars were not believers because Scripture said that believers would never beg bread. I believe, in hindsight, that he was referring to Psalm 37 - "nor have I seen the righteous begging bread".

That remark, directed to someone who was asking for advice about interacting with mendicants who asked for help, has always stuck with me. Has anyone else heard this line of reasoning, and is that a sound Biblical warrant for such a blanket statement about panhandlers and vagrants?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
When I was a child, a fellow church member said, in my hearing, that beggars were not believers because Scripture said that believers would never beg bread. I believe, in hindsight, that he was referring to Psalm 37 - "nor have I seen the righteous begging bread".

That remark, directed to someone who was asking for advice about interacting with mendicants who asked for help, has always stuck with me. Has anyone else heard this line of reasoning, and is that a sound Biblical warrant for such a blanket statement about panhandlers and vagrants?
The Lord Jesus didn't seem to think so, whether you think the parable is fact or an illustration. Luke 16:22.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I guess the first thought I have is why would one worry about their perceived status as believers? If they really are in need (which takes discernment), give them what you can. Mayhap it leads to a discussion on the grace of God.

Or walk away. But remember the Samaritan and contemplate what is best to do.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
And then there is Romans 8:35: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" There do come hard times upon those who remain faithful to Christ amidst hostile communities – and who would fault a parent or children begging so as to feed loved ones and themselves?
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
When I was a child, a fellow church member said, in my hearing, that beggars were not believers because Scripture said that believers would never beg bread. I believe, in hindsight, that he was referring to Psalm 37 - "nor have I seen the righteous begging bread".

That remark, directed to someone who was asking for advice about interacting with mendicants who asked for help, has always stuck with me. Has anyone else heard this line of reasoning, and is that a sound Biblical warrant for such a blanket statement about panhandlers and vagrants?
Certainly not a blanket statement. But there's definitely wisdom in the Psalm.

I knew some Christian people in an East Asian country who had been reduced to begging temporarily before their situation improved. We wanted to know how we could help all the people we saw begging on the streets. They said the majority of people begging on the streets weren't even legitimate beggars, let alone righteous. And it was almost impossible to tell who really needed the help and who was just racketeering.

That always made me wonder about the scale of fraud involved in the begging, umm... "trade."
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
If a person is begging for bread they must not be Christian. What a way to condemn the poor and hungry.

In the jungle I regularly met evangelists who were half-starved and even out of food totally. But Americans are, on average, grossly obese, so we must be more blessed.

It is very common to blame the poor and the sick for their own horrid conditions. This is a double injury, adding the pain of poverty with the pain of being judged for one's predicament. Lord, have mercy on our hard hearts. I don't see Jesus doing this in the New Testament. Lazarus was taken to the bosom of Abraham while the rich man begged for water in hades.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
Certainly not a blanket statement. But there's definitely wisdom in the Psalm.

I knew some Christian people in an East Asian country who had been reduced to begging temporarily before their situation improved. We wanted to know how we could help all the people we saw begging on the streets. They said the majority of people begging on the streets weren't even legitimate beggars, let alone righteous. And it was almost impossible to tell who really needed the help and who was just racketeering.

That always made me wonder about the scale of fraud involved in the begging, umm... "trade."
Good thoughts, and certainly something that would apply to begging in the US as well, where most begging is indeed suspect and we are encouraged not to enable the beggar by giving cash but instead to find other ways to minister and help. (On my part, I will frequently offer to purchase some food, and it's surprising how many times the offer is refused!) Still, though, it's a leap from that to a blanket statement that anyone who begs is not a believer. I don't see how the text supports such a leap.

One part of the OP that hasn't yet been addressed is whether anyone else has heard this verse used this way. Just wondering if this was a one-off remark or if there are actually people who interpret the verse in that manner.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top