One of the reasons I wanted to write the stories of the homeless was to give them a voice and then for the rest of the population to hear and to better understand who these people are.
There is a typical stereotype towards these people and yes, it may be true for some, it’s not true for all. And for the ones that it pertains too, I want people to take a step further past their stereotype and see why this person may be the way they are, why they are where they are, and who they are. I want us to see them through Jesus’ eyes, not our earthly eyes.
Over the last two years of our blanket ministry, I have noticed something that amazed me. Here are people who have nothing, or VERY little. Some are out on the park benches at night, under bridges, in storage sheds in the middle of winter. When I offer them the blankets and sleeping bags, if they are out in the weather, I want to give them more than one blanket. What I hear all the time is, “I don’t want to take more than my share, you give that to someone who could use it.” I’m thinking, who could use multiple blankets more than you?!” They are not greedy. They only take what they can get by with. They are not used to having more, not used to having extra.
I think about the times I used to go shopping and I would see a cute top I really liked. I couldn’t decide whether to get the white, black, or pink one so I would just get all three. I didn’t need all three. To be honest, I didn’t even need the one. I know others out there would say that if we work, have the money, we should be able to buy whatever we want. But I pondered as I looked at my full closet, just how much was needed. Did I need to have 8 pairs of jeans? Did I need to have the same tops and flip-flops in every color? I may be able to buy them, but what could I do better with the money that was spent on the things I didn’t need. I could buy food for the food pantries and how about toiletries to go with those blankets? Maybe I could buy 5 and 10 dollar food cards from the different eating places close by the homeless and give them away at Christmas time, or just anytime and say, “This is given with the love of Jesus.”
When I think about the homeless people’s line, “I don’t want to take more than my share”. . .I looked in my closet and thought, I have taken more than my share. And people don’t stereotype me. . .I don’t think they do. These people get looked down on, ignored, called names because they don’t have a home, they may drink, they may do drugs etc. I can tell you that in some of the best of homes, these same things are going on behind closed doors. These homeless people have no doors to hide behind. All that these people are, are out there for the world to see. But we just choose to ignore or to just see the surface. I want people to see further.
I want the homeless to be helped, given good gifts in the name of Jesus, given love and kindness. I want them to know and feel God’s forgiveness and feel His love, His peace, His grace and mercy. I want them to have more. When it comes to the gifts I just mentioned, don’t you want more? Do we deserve more grace and mercy and kindness and love than they do? I don’t think so. Jesus stretched out his arms on that cross, and said “I have all this to give to you, all of me. I don’t want just my share here, I want all of that, all of Him. When we take all of Him, there is more than enough to give to others. Let’s give the homeless more than what they think their share is. It’s much, much more than they know. Let’s tell them. Let’s show them. You just never know how God will use that to change a life. . .and I’m not just talking about theirs.
In the process, we will receive a gift. A gift that fills us up more than a closet full of colored tops and flip-flops.
(I realize that God will not direct everyone to minister to the homeless, he may direct you elsewhere and that is great! I just desire for you to think and see differently in your heart about the homeless if you have had negative thoughts. "God does not look on the outward appearance but at the heart." How are ours looking?)