The Poor Guy With The Flatscreen TV

Last week a story started swirling around Southern Ohio about a panhandler who used money people gave him to buy a flat screen TV. That swirling turned into a significant regional news story that many people have weighted in on over the past week. John Snavley is the panhandlers who is at the center of everyones recent attention & last summer, before he was making local headlines, I got the opportunity to have a conversation with John & like everyone else on the face of planet earth, John had a story. 

The sad reality is that few people who have given their opinion on John will ever take the time to hear his story. This guy is a bum in their mind & nothing he could ever say is going to change that. He took their hard earned $2 & used it to buy a flat screen TV & shame on him for it they think! I can think of worse ways I’ve saved & spent my money, both the money I’ve earned & the money I’ve been given, but we have a harsher standard for others than we do for ourselves.

This post is not for those outside the church. This post is for those inside the church. Those who proclaim the love of Christ. Those who have been shown grace time & time again. Those who are reminded by Jesus Himself that we are NEVER to judge (Matthew 7). People on the outside aren’t held to the standard we are because people on the outside aren’t claiming to follow Jesus.

We might all have different opinions on whether or not to give a panhandler money. I have given John money & I will do it again because I’ve heard John’s story. The poor guy with the flatscreen TV deserves the same love & grace as the rich man with the flatscreen TV. We are all God’s children & I believe it’s time those of us who claim christ start treating our brother & sister accordingly. Our faith should cause us to see these types of situations differently.



8 thoughts on “The Poor Guy With The Flatscreen TV

  1. holly kempton says:

    I agree Chris. I’ve replied a couple of times to the facebook pictures….not out of hate or anything like that….out of a major concern..Shouldn’t we be more concerned with the condition of someones heart or their soul? Shouldn’t we look on the inside/out? Shouldn’t we remember that we will be judged as we have judged others? We aren’t to judge others that are without Christ we are to keep each other that are in Christ accountable to each other and His way, the Kingdom. I’m saying this first to myself and then only to those who have experienced Christs redemption. I don’t argue or debate. I simply state out of a heart of concern. This situation makes my heart sad. And yes I’ve been given harsh words about my statements. But it’s ok. The people who have done that just simply don’t know. When you begin to stand and speak I understand you must be prepared for weapons thrown back at you. I love those that hate my comments and I have nothing to say and I can’t apologize for the truth, I won’t. I’ve spoken with this man face to face….That will change your life!
    Thanks for standing up. I back you up and this article. Even though I won’t be popular for my statements. It’s okay. Have a beautiful day everyone! God bless.

  2. Thanks Holly & I appreciate your willingness to speak out as well.


  3. Tina Dills says:

    Thanks for your post, Christopher. I’ve thought about this alot over the last week, especially the comments others (Christians) have posted about being careful who we give money to. I haven’t yet found in the Bible where God tells me to investigate the individual I feel led to give to and find them worthy. I know I am to be a good steward, but I am also to be obedient. For me, it’s about the giving. What another does with my gift is between them and God.

  4. “I know I am to be a good steward, but I am also to be obedient.” I couldn’t have said it better Tina.

  5. Nikki Lurty says:

    I’m one of the people who re-posted the story …briefly .It upset me , not because of his being a panhandler and buying a tv …but because people may not wanna give to others after reading his mis-leading sign for money. After thinking about it , I decided to take it down . As you said , everyone has a story , just like we all do. It’s not for me or anyone else to judge . I’m really big on not judging or being judged . Shame on me , Let’s leave it to God and pray for him

  6. Your honesty is refreshing Nikki & appreciate your willingness to share. To be honest, I pretty much turned a blind eye to the comments in regards to who posted & said what. I didn’t want to judge others for judging & I probably would have. We all have to know our weaknesses. None of us are perfect & God is working on all of us.

  7. C says:

    If I come to your church, will you give me a flat screen tv?

  8. Doubtful but I’m more than willing to offer you free coffee 🙂

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