|As I walked hurriedly by the beggar man,
Entrenched on his concrete corner,
As most do to ignore this sore,
I hear words of praise instead of words of woe.
Curiously interested, I slow to hear the beggar’s sermon.
He rasped words of praise and thanks,
For the miracles happening each and every day.
The miracles of sunrises, sunsets, heaven’s glory, and the Earth’s sustenance.
The miracle of babes born, his current life, and life everlasting.
I stood and wondered at his wisdom,
As a boy barely a man, full of his own foolishness,
Heckles the old beggar sore.
I silently stew, wishing for words of rebuke,
When the tattered old man wheezes simple words of reproach.
“Answer me this,” he asks of the smug young man.
“Do you know the difference between grace and mercy?”
The rebellious boy only laughs and turns to strut away.
“What is the answer?” I insist.
With eyes bright from an inner light, the man smiles his reply,
“Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve…salvation.
Mercy is when the Lord doesn’t give us what we do…damnation.”
From that day on,
I would stop to take part in the beggar’s sermons,
And the wisdom he would impart.
Until he exchanged his current life,
For life everlasting.
Vincent W. Myers