There are men all around us who are broken. With some, it’s obvious. The homeless man living on the street…the man in the liquor store who smells as though he sweats out alcohol…the guy you see walking along the road to get to some destination you don’t know about.
But just like these examples we consider obvious, there are just as many we don’t see. It might be your doctor, burdened with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. He is expected to be professional, well put together, and able to shoulder great responsibility. He gets up and reads scripture at his church. Everyone there thinks he has no problems. They don’t know he’s addicted to prescription painkillers.
Maybe it’s the blue collar worker. He started at the plant right out of high school, making decent money. Now, 25 years in, there is talk of the plant closing. His wife works part-time at a daycare. Their high-school age kids are talking college. At your church every Sunday, he is an usher, smiling at you as he hands you the offering plate. But the things that his family faces wear on him. That bottle that he used to take a sip from on occasion has become a crutch, with a few shots every evening.
Perhaps it’s the owner of the coffee shop where you stop every day before work. He just learned that yet another worker stole money from the cash register and had to fire her. She’s got a baby on the way, and he suspects she has a drug problem. He thinks back 15 years to when he got out of rehab and someone gave him a chance. He feels horrible, and on his way home, stops at the bar.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s your pastor. The man who brings you the Good News week after week. This week, he buried a long-time parishioner, counseled a young couple who are getting married in a few weeks, and is weary from his time as the volunteer chaplain at the local hospital. The man who is supposed to look to God for help in times of trouble, instead tells his wife that he’s not done with his sermon on Saturday night. She goes to bed, and he begins to look at pornography. After watching video after video, he looks up at the clock and it’s 1:00 AM. He drags himself to bed, knowing that when he delivers that sermon on Sunday morning, he’ll do so burdened with the shame of what he’s just done.
You know him. Maybe he’s one of these guys. Maybe he’s you. Your dad, your brother, your son. Putting on that smile, telling you he’s good when he’s really not.
Broken, living in shame. Fear that those around us will find out who we really are, and point their fingers and yell “fraud!”
Then, you hear about a group. A group unlike one you’ve ever heard of before. Just a bunch of regular guys from your church who you always thought had it all together. They’re starting to meet because they’re at wits end. Life has gotten stressful, and they just need a place to share their troubles.
That’s what The Beggar’s Bread is. Broken men sitting around a table, watching a video, praying, eating, and just sharing the things that they hope they can get through this week. No one letting on that they’ve magically conquered life, but instead letting you know that He loves you, and wants what is best for you.
Consider joining us next time we meet at Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church at 851 Science Park Road, State College, PA. You don’t have to be Lutheran, or even a practicing Christian, but come expecting to be told about a Man who was broken for you.