But whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his heart of compassion from him, how does the love of God dwell in him? - I John 3:17
He was part of an outreach team from his church that was ministering to the homeless in his city. Among the gathering of souls that he had been sent to serve was a woman who looked very familiar to him. He kept thinking about her, and then on his second outreach he saw her again. He went up to her and said, "Mary?"
The woman looked at him, surprised that he had known her name.
She had been one of his co-workers at one time. She told him that she had lost her job and wasn't able to find another one. What little she had managed to save quickly dwindled as she struggled to stay in her apartment and keep her car. With no other resources available to her, the nightmare she feared became an aching reality and she found herself living on the street.
During the comfortable routine of her daily life, she never thought that someday she would be viewed as a "street woman." The point is that given the right set of circumstances, homelessness can happen to anyone.
If we can look at these people with the eyes of Jesus, we won't judge them, instead we will work to find practical ways to help people like Mary find their way to a new home spiritually as well as physically. Sometimes it takes more than just distributing a basket of food or handing them a pair of socks. They need help finding work, and affordable places to live, getting ID's (which is hard to do without an address); and they need some generous gifts to help provide rent deposits. When someone has been stripped down to nothing, a rent deposit can be an insurmountable amount of money to obtain.
God has not called us to preach the Gospel with empty hands.The Apostle John asks us all to consider the condition of our hearts as we contemplate what we need to do to help those people the Lord views as His "Least of These."
Copyright 2010 by H. D. Shively
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