Ministry To The HomelessQUESTION: How important is ministry to the homeless?
A friend of mine volunteered recently to help out with our ministry to the homeless by driving a van to transport some homeless to church on Sunday, and said he would be happy to help. Several of our “regulars” weren’t there to be picked up, and it looked like God had provided this extra help for nothing. I asked Brian to follow me as I went around to the homeless camps.
At the first camp, I motioned for him to wait in his car and I started trudging up the trail into the woods. I glanced back and Brian was right behind me. I smiled, knowing he would be blessed as I had been by meeting these people face to face.
A homeless man limped painfully out to greet us. A brown recluse spider had bitten him, and the wound was swollen with infection. Brian volunteered to take him to the emergency room. He later brought him to our house for lunch and was glowing from the way God had used him.
The man needed to return to the hospital for a follow-up visit. I told him I would pick him up, but developed car trouble that morning. Feeling a bit guilty, I called Brian to see if he could help again.
Brian was in the middle of a presentation in a conference at work when his cell phone rang, so he didn’t pick up immediately. He called back a few minutes later and seemed a bit annoyed. Clearly he had a busy day ahead of him at work.
When I described what I needed, Brian said, “My calendar just cleared up.” He spent several hours with the man, getting his prescription filled, and getting propane for his camp stove.
That night he said, “I’ve been spending my whole life in the corporate world, thinking I was making some kind of contribution. Today, I spent a few hours in God’s world and wondered why I hadn’t been there all along.”
Ministry to the Homeless – God has not forsaken them
In Luke 16, there is a story about a rich man. On his doorstep there was a beggar named Lazarus. The rich man and Lazarus both died -- the rich man was consigned to hell and Lazarus to heaven. There is no indication the rich man ever did anything wrong to Lazarus. He was simply indifferent to the plight of someone the Lord had literally laid on his doorstep. “And his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Lazarus in the far distance with Abraham. The rich man shouted, `Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in these flames.' But Abraham said to him, `Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. Anyone who wanted to cross over to you from here is stopped at its edge, and no one there can cross over to us'" (Luke 16:23-26).
When we look at our own lives, it isn’t important whether we help the homeless. The important thing is that we recognize whom God has put on our doorstep, and minister to them. It’s not just a ministry to the homeless that is important. It is spending time doing what God wants us to do. Maybe you’ve been called to sponsor a child somewhere in the world. If so, we highly recommend Compassion International.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus
Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus
I still have questions