I took some time recently to look up information about the homeless population in the United States. The most current statistics show that there are close to 600,000 people experiencing this situation due to these four factors: lack of affordable housing, low wages, unemployment, or poverty.
Since our world and economy has seen so many changes in the last few years, reading that over half a million people lived this way was not a shock. Sadly, it’s become a regular thing for us to see people on the streets in downtown areas or tent cities popping up randomly. But because of my lack of reaction to the statistics, I had to ask myself a difficult question – have I become immune to seeing the needs of the homeless and asking the Lord how I should help?
The best help we can ever give is to share God’s greatest gift with them – Jesus! He is the one true source that will help them out of any situation. But then what? Leviticus 25:35 (NIV) says, “If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner or a stranger, so they can continue to live among you.”
We know that “help” can come in so many different forms – physical, financial, spiritual, etc. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we are called to find homes for everyone and feed them – although we don’t discount that “we can do all things through Christ Jesus.” But it does mean that we shouldn’t ignore, turn away, dismiss, or feel sorry for anyone that is in a homeless situation. In fact, Proverbs states very clearly how we are supposed to respond to those in need.
Proverbs 19:17 (AMP) “He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will repay him for his good deed.”
Proverbs 28:27 (VOICE) “Whoever gives to the poor will have what he needs, but the one who shuts his eyes to their plight will face curse after curse.”
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had to repent for acting like I don’t see the person on the side of the road asking for money or food, but we are called to have compassion for those in need. God never meant for any of His people to be homeless. We should be asking the Lord what our role is in each situation we come across. Sometimes it may be to bring them a meal – other times we may be called just to pray for them. But if we don’t take the time to become more aware of the homeless community, we will be missing a unique opportunity to be obedient and bless others.
EMIC Outreach partners with Deep Love Ministries every month to minister to the homeless community in Fort Worth. If you would like to join us, click on emic.org/opportunities for more information.