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16 years ago, I was on my home from college. I lived in a college town, and was still living at home.
So, college was in fact only 10 minutes from my house. I drove the same way every day in this Mississippi town. Down Hardy street, take a left at the light, and often busy intersection, and I was almost home. In recent year leading up, more and more in our town of 60-80,000 people, we began to see more and more homeless people in our community, often sitting at that stop light. With signs that read “Will work for food,” “Homeless veteran,” “Down on luck, need help…” We’ve all seen them.
While I had passed these individuals many times, this time I felt very compelled by the Holy Spirit to help out the guy holding the sign near the light. I didn’t have any money. I was a college student after all living at home. But being near home, I knew that I could go make him a sandwich, grab some pudding, maybe some chips of something to drink… And so, that is just what i quickly did. Within 10 minutes, I was back at the busy intersection, where I parked my car, walked in front of stopped traffic, and handed him the food. I turned to walk away when the man, in dirty clothes and un-washed, weathered face stopped me, and said, “Thank you! Thank you! You don’t know how much this means!” I nodded, personally I was avoiding conversation. I could have been more personable, but I wasn’t. I gave him the food, smiled and walked away. I wasn’t there for more than 5 seconds.
Over the next couple of days to a week, I heard from 3-5 people who told me that they were sitting at the stop light when I came over to the man to hand him food. Honestly I was shocked to hear that so many people I knew, others that didn’t saw me doing the act. I wasn’t doing it to be noticed. They continued to tell me how touched they were by my act of kindness. That, their thoughts towards the man leading up to that were not holy. They had negative thoughts of “Oh, the bum, he’s just trying to get money. He’s probably on drugs, pan handling for money to get a fix.” I am not trying to exalt my act here, but what I realized is that God didn’t bring me to the street corner to only to bring food for someone in need, but rather He brought many people all to one intersection to help change their opinion of an individual, and maybe a whole group of people not doing so well in life.
Today on PFJ, we’re not only taking an honest look at our opinion of the homeless community, we’re taking an honest look at ourselves and the attitudes we have about them — asking ourselves, are we viewing and acting in the right way that Christ asked us to act to those in need in our society.
This week on the podcast…
From those living on the streets, to those working their way back into the mainstream, today we are going to speak with people from a couple of different organizations that work with those who are struggling to get back on their feet and integrated back into society.
There is not much more to say that hasn’t already been said. Living on the streets would obviously be hard. Any one miss-step could lead to another – and like Brad said earlier, could lead us astray and we ourselves too could be without a home and living in a car. With the average age of homelessness in America being only 7 years old, more than you know, people are living a hard life, some younger than we would want.
Our hope, if anything, now matters where we fall on the economic ladder, ultimately is in Christ. Scripture after scripture in the Bible tells us that God is close to the broken hearted, the crushed in spirit, He asks us to care for those without hope, and speak life to those in need – From the orphan to the widow, the prisoner to those living on the streets, God will be with us as we reach out those in need.
We hope that today’s conversation opened your eyes a bit more to the needs of the homeless community –that they are all people too, created in the image of God just as you and I are. Let us strive to live our lives humble in spirit, thankful for what little we have, and more than that grateful for those God has in our lives and who he brings across our path.
Whether they living under a bridge or in the nicest home that money can buy, with a generous attitude of Christ towards our fellow man, God can do amazing things through us to bless and minister with an honest heart to those living around us.Share your thoughts about this post on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Music in this episode was contributed by Kevin Macleod.