One old hungry beggar


I’m not one who’s got it all in place

Tellin’ you what you should do, no,

I’m just one old hungry beggar

Showin’ you where I found food.

                   from the song, “Beggar” by John Fischer

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

This last step indicates a major shift in the way in which we let other people know about Jesus.

For as long as I can remember, Christians have had this obligation to lead people to Christ. We call it witnessing. Just hearing that term strikes fear into my bones. Why? Because I’ve had so many bad experiences doing this.

Besides reading the Bible, praying and going to church, witnessing is one of the main things we are supposed to do in the world as believers. Witnessing was telling people about Jesus with the goal of leading them to accept Christ into their hearts as their own personal savior. Usually this involved going up to people cold turkey and figuring out how to get them in a discussion about religion leading up to whether or not they had been born again.

There is something wrong about the whole posture of this. It was usually a set up. It was unnatural. It involved total strangers. It was usually a hand down. We could tell them how they, too, could get it together like us.

Then along came this idea of one beggar leading another beggar to the food, and everything changed. Now instead of telling, we’re showing. We are talking about friends, not strangers — fellow travelers on the road of life. There is no hierarchy. We are sinners. We too are beggars. In the case of twelve steps, we are talking about other alcoholics. People like us. There’s no pretense. This is a hand across, not a hand down. We are pointing people to Christ in the context of needing to get better ourselves.

It’s a whole different paradigm. This is not witnessing — some sort of spiritual raid — this is coming alongside and walking along with someone. The fact that we, too, are hurting, and in need of the very message we bring, is what makes this different. It works with the twelve steps because it’s alcoholic to alcoholic; it works with all of us as Christians because it’s sinner to sinner. Thanks be to God for His amazing grace.

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6 Responses to One old hungry beggar

  1. Sandie says:

    John, it was initially your book(s) that led me out of the ‘witnessing’ trap. I began to know that I had to relate to God very differently than I was. Because of that, I had to learn to relate to others the way Jesus looked at me. It’s been a slow, life-long learning experience….but, how can we share Jesus if we can’t share our (real, honest) life?
    Speaking of books again, I recently read THEY LIKE JESUS – BUT NOT THE CHURCH by Dan Kimball. So much truth, irony, sadness there. Frustration for me – how can we believers forget that we are still in the same boat we started out in – still eager to get out of the boat and show how much trust we have in Jesus – still as prone to sink as reality hits us. Oh, if ever there was a role model for me – it is Peter for sure! I have learned (most times) to reach for His hand to bring me safely through life…at least I hope I have.
    So now my dilemma is this: while I don’t look down on those who are seeking the Lord for the first time; in fact have much in common honestly with them….Here it is – I now view with despair, frustration and contempt (not necessarily in that order), my fellow believers! So…who is the Pharisee here?

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      Sandie, I can relate to your comments so well! It’s been the Catch that’s greatly helped get me out of ‘witnessing’ trap too – I love the idea of come along side them a walk together to simply befriend them & care about a person. – I apply what I learned in Amway, people don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care. ❤

  2. Thank you for your praise to God at the end of today’s post, John.
    What you wrote this morning reminded me of Jesus’ encounter with ten lepers:

    While Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered one of the villages, He was met by ten lepers. They stood at a distance and raised their voices, shouting, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
    When Jesus saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were on their way, they were cleansed.
    When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back, praising God in a loud voice. He fell facedown at Jesus’ feet in thanksgiving to Him—and he was a Samaritan.
    “Were not all ten cleansed?” Jesus asked. “Where then are the other nine? Was no one found except this foreigner to return and give glory to God?”
    Then Jesus said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well!”
    ~ Luke 17:11-19 (BSB)

    • Perhaps a more fitting leper comparison is found in 2 Kings 7:8-9:

      When the lepers arrived at the edge of the camp they went into one tent after another, eating, drinking wine, and carrying out silver and gold and clothing and hiding it.
      Finally they said to each other, “This isn’t right. This is wonderful news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone! Even if we wait until morning, some terrible calamity will certainly fall upon us; come on, let’s go back and tell the people at the palace.”

  3. Jesus Aguilar says:

    I got a good chuckle today from your post. First you skip step 10 and I did not follow your post on step eleven because I am stubborn, like to go in order 1 Corinthians 14:40 and now you are posting step 12. Would you mind going back to step 11? But if not it is Ok.
    Jesus Aguilar

  4. jwfisch says:

    Jesus, I commented on Step 11 on March 29, 30 and April 2. I jumped to 11 because it fit with Easter and Jesus praying in the garden for the Father’s will and the power to carry it out. Then I went back to 10 on April 3,4 and 5.

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