The Poor – What Really Helps the Homeless?
This week was about lists. So here is my list today. Do you help a homeless person?
One articles quoted research by Kaiser and the WPost that Christians were almost twice as likely than non-Christians to blame poor people for their own condition … due to a lack of effort by the person caught in poverty. Non-Christians would blame circumstances. And while both viewpoints can be argued, I would rather focus on what are we doing about it.
Tonight, on the way to work, I saw a homeless person sleeping under a bridge less than a mile from the Galleria, one of the most upscale malls in north Texas. And when I stopped to get my slice of pizza before work from Carmine’s (ranked in DFW’s top 10 – another list reference), I was asked by a homeless man for 25 cent. Just 25 cents I said not at this time and drove on to work. I know the statistics and reasons for not giving money. I understand there are better ways to help. But I chose to walk away and go to work. I said a prayer for him and asked that somebody would help him, truly help him tonight.
God has a way of testing my words. So about midnight, the same man who asked for a quarter stepped into the lobby of my hotel and just wandered around. I am not sure if he recognized me, but God made sure I recognized him.
Now I am known for being too soft around here, or what I call, I show grace. Many would ask him to leave. I was kind, not aggressive, and very patient. Eventually, I gave him a water, offered an apple, and said he could sit and relax a bit. I introduced myself and asked his name – to which he said Mario, Mario Andretti. Oookkaay.
From the Torah to the New Testament, we are admonished to aid the poor.
From Deuteronomy … If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.
To Proverbs … He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.
To Luke … But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.
To First John … If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Our list is two choices.
So, I don’t always know what to do, but I do choose to resist doing nothing. Tonight, water and kindness. Tomorrow, do some better research for homeless ministries in Addison/north Dallas. I know some downtown, but that doesn’t help right now.
And beyond that, I will pray for the ministry to the homeless and if my church has that ministry, I will see what they might need for me to help. By helping in the crisis, maybe it will open the door for helping in the biggest need – salvation.
But tonight, I choose to show grace to Mario Andretti.
Every situation is different, but our direction from the Lord is clear … help, with grace, kindness, and respect.
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