Our God is so very mysterious.
Recently my wife told me about some hateful things people wrote on a neighborhood online forum about homeless people living nearby. In short, the commenters view the homeless as something to get rid of. They might as well have been complaining about a pile of trash up wind from their homes.
MaryBeth and I walk nearly every day. Most days we pass a homeless women who is either singing, sleeping, reading or just sitting quietly. This past Saturday morning we saw her sleeping in a covered bus stop to keep a heavy wind off of her. She was completely covered by a blue blanket, and as usual, she was flanked by all of her belongings. The bus stop is directly in front of our neighborhood Farmers’ Market, which, as always, was buzzing. It was the intersection of completely different worlds.
A cousin in-law I very much hope to meet one day asked on Facebook recently, “What do you do when you see a homeless person?”
I commented. “Not enough,” I said.
I don’t want to ever answer that question that way again.
I believe God uses each and every one of us to advance the kingdom. He places us where He needs us. He only gives us what He knows we can handle. He brings people in and out of our lives. And He gave us a book of teachings, principles and examples to live by.
This book and His son tell me this.
1. Do not persecute, judge and ridicule those less fortunate, regardless of the circumstances. Instead, help them. Jesus did not caveat this command with “…if you think they’re worthy.”
2. Stop walking by and try doing something helpful with your wealth. Exemplify the Bible. Helping is not a spectator sport.
3. If you don’t like the way you have to truthfully answer a question, change your behavior so you can answer it in a way you’re proud of.
On this day before Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the homeless. This may sound harsh to you, and to be clear, I absolutely wish and pray not a single person was homeless. But I’m thankful for the homeless because they illuminate one of the many areas in life where I’m failing God, failing them and failing you. I’m thankful for every person God brings into my life, regardless of status, regardless of where they sleep.
Today, I’m thankful for the woman under the blue blanket. In the near future, I pray that if someone asks me her name. I won’t have to say, “I don’t know.”
I’m tired of being a spectator. I’m tired of just walking by. How about you?