I originally set out to discuss the biblical perspective on children, adoption, and the like being the news this week of the potential decision to overturn the federal Rowe vs. Wade abortion laws. This however will not be our topic today. When starting to dig into my research for today’s episode I was led to other scriptures that addressed other news from my week.
It is common that I will drive my adult Son to his job about half a mile away from where we live, hey it’s quality time, the older he gets the thinner that time becomes. Commonly in our commute near my Son’s job, we regularly see an older well known homeless gentleman and his K9 companion. Unfortunately, he’s always on the opposite side of the road when I pass by on the divided roadway. My son however will have the occasional passing conversation with him during the workday.
Monday, while at work my Son noticed that he was walking past his work without his dog. My Son asked him, where is your dog? The saddened old soul told him that they came and taken him away from him. It was not unusual to see them sitting under the shade of a tree while he gave his K9 friend water or food, sometimes forgoing eating himself so his furry companion could eat. Obviously broken the old homeless man trudged back along his usual path. Come to the end of the work day, my Son told me the sad tale of what had happened to the well-known pair.
When I heard this news I have to admit a little anger welled up in me thinking, that dog was the only one he trusted in this broken world and they took him away. I was infuriated in my thoughts that they took his dog and sent it to a new home, but allowed him to continue out on the streets. We are hoping the old gentleman is ok because he has not been seen in a few days since.
Sharing this tale as I said was not my original plan for today’s episode, but God’s word showed itself pushing me to another topic, that topic being the homeless, and in need. So today we will explore some of the scriptures on this topic that jumped out at me on this. The first scripture we will look at in the old testament book of Job Chapter 24 verses 4-8.
4 The poor are pushed off the path;
the needy must hide together for safety.
5 Like wild donkeys in the wilderness,
the poor must spend all their time looking for food,
searching even in the desert for food for their children.
6 They harvest a field they do not own,
and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
7 All night they lie naked in the cold,
without clothing or covering.
8 They are soaked by mountain showers,
and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home.
Homelessness and poverty are rampant even in what is seen as an affluent country such as mine here in the United States. The closer you get to my closest large city (which is Baltimore) you see not just those standing on corners with signs, but if you really open your eyes you see them living in tents on the wooded fringes of our bustling commercial areas and roadways, or huddled from the rain and cold in alcoves and alleyways.
Now please don’t see me as naive, I know some of those on the corners with signs are not as bad off as they portray, and I’ve caught several in their schemes, and yes, some have gotten the best of me. But for every deceiver are five or more that are truly suffering. You also have to consider those as well that have become so broken that they refuse to accept generosity, or no longer have any trust for their fellow man, it’s sad, but even in our worst of situations, pride can be an ugly deceiver of its own.
So what does the bible tell us to do when it comes to those who are in need? This as we read in Job has been a problem going even as far back as the early days of biblical history.
In Isaiah 58:7 we read,
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
It is no surprise that we would hear about sharing your food, but what’s this about shelter? Is Isaiah telling us we should house every homeless person we come across? Well, if you are wealthy enough to be able to do that, then I say, hey, why not! But chances are more likely you don’t have those means.
Shelter does not necessarily mean a home, shelter could be a warm sleeping bag, that old tent you bought when your kids were young, a raincoat, and even as simple as picking up a sturdy plastic tarp while you’re shopping at the hardware store. It’s the little things that have the biggest impacts.
So what about this relative thing? Sure, we can’t solve everyone’s problem and we can’t pay for everything someone else needs. Sometimes the biggest help comes from just being there to listen, to allow someone to not unpack their things, but to unpack their mind and heart. As Christians, all of humanity is our relatives.
We should consider that even the smallest of kind gestures can have huge impacts on someone’s life and situation.
So how does it benefit me? You may ask.
“When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
What this means is there is a great benefit for those of us who look out for our fellow man, Jesus taught us in the Gospel that it’s all about LOVE, We are to LOVE everyone even our enemies. Sure, it’s great that we LOVE our God, and we LOVE our families, but the biggest part other than our faith is LOVE for everyone,
Song – Phil Collins – Another Day In Paradise
let’s wrap up by looking at James 2:15-17.
15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Personally, nothing hurts my heart more than when someone contacts me in need, and I don’t have the physical resources to help them. I’ve lost sleep because of these many nights worried for those souls I had to turn away. But God knows, He knows we can’t help everyone, He only asks that we try. To be intentional with our faith not just in heart and mind, but in action.
So the next time you see a homeless person, or someone struggling, don’t just turn and walk the other way, offer a kind word, offer to pick them up a cheeseburger when you go through the drive-through at your fast food place or a hot or cold drink depending on the weather. Even if all they want is someone to hear their story give them that moment. Maybe just maybe, what they need is to hear you share your faith with them. If not, then wish them well, and move on, but remember to pray for them. Sometimes that prayer is the biggest gift you can give.