Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Am I expected to help people living in cardboard box shelters? Living under bridges? Sleeping on the streets? Well, I just don't have such opportunities. Besides, it might be dangerous these days.

Do I excuse myself because I don't know any such people? The “homeless” might not be who I think. 

They are not always in such impoverished situations. They might be my friends who previously lived in their own comfortable homes and entertained me for lunch. They might have been active in the mainstream of life. Or one of my neighbors. We worshiped together at Church. Perhaps we shopped and laughed together and made warm memories.

Suddenly, or gradually, they suffered losses...perhaps loss of spouse, loss of health, loss of mobility, perhaps loss of memory. Someone else might have made the choice for them to sell their long-lived-in home and move to some form of assisted living. 

Perhaps age forced them to make drastic changes in their lifestyle. Where they are now doesn't feel like home to them. They are no longer in their comfort zone. They feel virtually “homeless.”

They might feel as abandoned as those who do live under bridges and in cardboard boxes. Have I forgotten them? Are they absent from my heart? “Out of sight, out of mind?” Does God allow me to dismiss them and, as it were, “walk on the other side of the road” as in Jesus' parable of the passersby—or am I the Good Samaritan? The Lord expects me to “visit the widow, the orphan, the fatherless, the prisoner.” In some cases our homeless friend in a care facility may be in all of those categories. Although cared for, she might feel like a prisoner taken from her spacious living quarters and freedom and confined to cramped quarters and living among virtual strangers.

I do know such “homeless” people. Yes, they were my friends. Yes, they should remain in my heart, and I must  reach out to them with genuine compassion. I can visit them if they live nearby, write or phone them if they live at a distance. They may be longing for a warm touch and a hug and some small token from me expressing that I remember them and still love them. I can pray that their faith in God will remain constant and they will not feel despondent in their circumstances. I can encourage them in the Lord.

In so doing, I will not only touch them but I will touch Jesus Himself. My “homeless” friend might be well cared for materially but hungry or thirsty for someone to come visit. I was a stranger, and you took Me not in: naked, and you clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited Me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto You?'” (Matthew 25:43, 44)

I know the answer to His question and what I should be doing about it.

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