By Keith Franklin
Franklin designs and estimates life safety systems for commercial construction. He is an active member of Emmanuel Wesleyan Church and an occasional volunteer at the Roanoke Rescue Mission.
A response to Mr. Harris’s July 17 letter to the editor: “Crack down on Panhandlers”, and Ms. Setzer’s tirade against “beggars and vagrants” on Aug, 21.
John Wesley preached and lived charity in a way that most could never rival. This excerpt is from his sermon “The More Excellent Way”:
Treasures on earth, treasures in heaven
If you do have a family, seriously consider before God how much each member needs for life and godliness. In general, do not allow them less and do not allow them more than you allow yourself. This being done, make it your purpose to gain no more. I charge you in the name of God, do not increase your standard of living! As it comes daily or yearly, allow the extra to go. Otherwise you lay up treasures upon earth. Our Lord forbids this as flatly as he forbids murder and adultery. By storing up such treasures, you would be storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
But what if it was not forbidden? How can you, on the basis of reason, spend your money in a way that God may possibly forgive, instead of spending it in a way that he will certainly reward? You will have no reward in heaven for what you lay up. You will have a reward for what you lay out. Every pound you put into the earthly bank is sunk. It brings no heavenly interest. But every pound you give to the poor is put into the bank of heaven, and it will bring glorious interest. Indeed, it will accumulate for all eternity.
Who then is the wise person, and who among you is endowed with wisdom? With the Lord’s assistance, let that person resolve on this day, in this hour, in this moment to choose from what is stated above the more excellent way. Let that person steadily keep to the way with regard to sleep, prayer, work, food, conversation, and amusement. And may it especially be true in regard to the employment of that important item, money. Let your heart answer to the call of God: From this moment, with God as my help, I will lay up no more treasures on earth. This one thing I will do, I will lay up treasure in heaven. I will give to God the things that are God’s. I will give him all my goods and all my heart.
John Wesley — July 8, 1787
This having been said, I have a challenge for Ms. Setzer and Mr. Harris. Join the team of volunteers at the Roanoke Rescue Mission and see the solution, as opposed to asking the authorities to remove the problem from your sight.