I read an article this morning about a homeless man who found $17,000 in a bag outside a homeless shelter. The shelter hadn’t opened yet, so he waited until it did and then he gave the bag to the volunteer who was opening up for the day telling him that he found the bag full of money outside the door and someone had left it for them.
The employee called the police who held the money for 90 days waiting for someone to claim it and when they didn’t, they gave it back to the shelter. The homeless man was given a good citizen certificate by the police and a gift certificate to his favorite store by the shelter. The shelter used the money to purchase a new walk-in refrigerator and other improvements for expansion.
I wonder what God, who sees “all,” will bless this man with. I suspect that this fellow has eaten many a meal in the shelter and he might have received blessing enough already just in knowing that he could repay their gracious kindness.
I have a friend in Tallahassee who has a passion for working with homeless people. He affectionately calls them “His lepers.” He runs a large shelter and feeds and houses 150 per day at last count. When I was hunting my plantation, I used to give them the deer we harvested, and they were very appreciative.
He has helped numerous homeless people who today are productive and leading great lives. He and his wife. who works with women in need, deal with some of the most difficult situations one can imagine and I often wonder how they can stand the stress year after year.
I have another friend who volunteers at a food bank. He takes food out to the woods along with tents, toilet paper, and other necessities and distributes them to the homeless who live there. Both of my friends witness to the lost in their ministry and though the harvest may seem small, it is huge to those who receive the word and find Jesus.
I was homeless for a while and as a result receive many offers to speak at shelters. I do so, but admittedly dislike speaking at homeless shelters because so many of them have psychiatric problems that are so severe that they need to be institutionalized. It is difficult to speak to people who are so mentally incapacitated that they cannot seem to understand much of anything including that there is hope in Jesus. However, I do realize that not all of them are like that and I cannot remember many times, if ever. that someone didn’t pray to receive Christ at one of those events.
The hungry, poor, homeless, downtrodden, and addicted all have souls. Jesus loves each and every one of them and it is worth the effort if only one is saved. I remember how people used to look at me when I lived on the street. It was as though I was a subhuman. So many have been blessed with wonderful parents and love. Most all of the homeless I’ve ever met were severely abused and thrown away like a dirty rag during their formative years. They did not have a life’s ambition of ending up on the street. Circumstances often beyond their control put them there. They are victims for the most part.
So, during this Christmas you undoubtedly want to help. My suggestion is to help by contributing to shelters instead of directly giving them money on the street which will most often be used to buy alcohol or drugs or both. Know where the shelters in your area are located and when they want money purportedly for food direct them to the shelter nearest them. If you are bold offer to take them to a restaurant and sit down and have a meal with them and share Jesus.
I think we should do likewise.
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.