Jesus told us that you can’t serve God and Mammon together, but it’s difficult – take the beggars as an example. Most of us avoid them because we feel like we don’t have enough money to help all of them. When we have a thought like that, we basically say that I’m someone that’s only defined by an economic identity. In other words, I’m serving Mammon!
In this example I see myself as an individual that can only give money and if I don’t have money – then I have nothing to offer. This way of thinking is not of Jesus – we have so much more to give!
Some beggars only need a smile or a listening ear, in some radical cases healing. The healing bit comes from Acts chapter 3 – one of the few interactions between beggars and Christ followers in the Bible.
Peter and John are on their way to the temple. Close to their destination they get distracted by a beggar. According to the author, Luke, "he asked them for money" (v3). In the following verses we read some interactions that show that Peter and John’s lives were not reduced to economic terms.
Luke says that Peter and John "looked straight at the man" and then they told the man, "Look at us." Now if you live in a country where you’re confronted with this kind of thing on a daily basis, then you know that step one for a successful evasion is this – DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT … This is the first thing these two disciples do. They look at the man – intently. People who beg feel dehumanized and often ask without making eye contact themselves. We sometimes say "You know I couldn’t even look him in the eyes." Eye contact is a really practical way in which we can communicate to others that they’re human and that we’re human.
Soren Kierkegaard has a very challenging quote on this very subject,
Gold and silver I do not have, but I give you what I have; stand up and walk,” said Peter. Later on the clergy were saying: Gold and silver we have – but we have nothing to give.