They are everywhere. They make us uncomfortable. They set up camp at the stoplight so that when we hit a red light, we are forced to look them in the eyes. They want the dollars that we went to work for all week! They look sad, lost, cold, broken, dirty, lonely, and sometimes sick.
I’ve heard that some of these people actually PRETEND to be homeless, just to beg for MY money!
So, we have a dilemma. We have no way of knowing whether or not that person on the corner, or at the stoplight, actually has a place to call home. We don’t know if they have a Suburban waiting for them in a nearby parking lot, or if they have been on the streets for several years.
This, however, is not the true dilemma. The true dilemma is that we choose to look away from the cross. The true dilemma is that we remove our eyes from our Savior, and all that He has done for us, so easily. The true dilemma is the human greediness that fills our hearts.
We use every excuse to justify why we don’t have to help:
1. This person put themselves here.
2. Shouldn’t this person go out and get a job?
3. Why can’t they find a way to support themselves?
4. If I give them money they will waste it.
5. If I give them money they might buy ALCOHOL.
6. My couple of bucks won’t help anyways.
7. I’d buy them food but I don’t have time.
8. I worked really hard for MY money.
9. Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.
Ever used one of these? Be honest.
The true dilemma lies in our disposition towards our neighbor.
“Wait” you might say. “Greg, did you just call that person with the cup in their hand and a cardboard sign with some ruggedly etched message, MY NEIGHBOR?!’
My answer is a simple yes.
Time and time again Jesus tells us to love the Father with all that we have, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. I have a big secret for you guys: we love ourselves a lot.
We naturally prefer to withhold rather than to reach out, but Christ changes that; the cross changes that. Just as it has the power to change eternities, it changes the ‘here and now.’ When we are growing in relationship with Christ, our hearts are being aligned to His heart. As this takes place, our lives become reflections of the life that He lived.
As Christ followers, we should be looking for every excuse TO help someone. We should be sharing the love of Jesus, through actions and through words. It might be just handing someone a couple bucks, regardless of what happens next, because you may be able to show compassion in doing so. You may be able to listen to someone’s story; you may be able to share yours.
The heart of the saved longs to reach the lost.
Reaching the lost simply means sharing Jesus. A relationship with Jesus always starts with an introduction. An introduction to Jesus can take place over years, or it can happen in a single interaction.
That homeless beggar is one of two things in relation to us:
-A brother or sister in Christ, in great need. (Likely in need of someone to listen or show compassion)
-A person who desperately needs Jesus.
No one is more distant from Christ than we once were, before relationship with Jesus. The Bible tells us we are all sinners, but God chose to love us anyways. He showed us that love through Jesus. That homeless beggar might be one interaction, one introduction, from the start of a relationship with Jesus.
You could be instrumental in that homeless beggar finding his eternal home.
Let me tell you what we know:
1) Every person needs a Savior.
2) There is only one Savior.
3) That Savior’s name is Jesus.
4) Relationships begins with introductions.
Everything that we have been given (money included), is from God. We have resources that are to be used to glorify Him, to further His name. Our money isn’t our money. We are to be stewards of Christ.
We must keep our eyes on the cross, on the gift named Jesus who was not withheld from us.
We must remain fixed on His love and grace, and share what we have received and experienced. His sacrifice is for everyone. We are not called to pick and choose who we will share the Gospel with. The Gospel is the love story for ALL people.
Peter didn’t give the beggar any gold or silver in Acts, but he was able to bring him to new life in Christ.
A couple bucks, along with words of encouragement, prayer, etc. can make a difference. There is no one too far gone for Christ.
We were all eternally separated from God until Jesus stepped in our place; that’s the beauty of His grace.
Small acts of kindness can make everlasting difference. That homeless beggar is no different from us. He’s a person in need of Jesus.
Don’t withhold the gift of Jesus from others; introduce them. #LETMEINTRODUCEYOU
I was not raised to think this way. I was told never to give money to someone looking for handouts, for fear of what it might be used for. But I’ve learned that a couple bucks and a prayer, or sitting down to a meal with a complete stranger in need, or listening for 15 minutes, can mean so much more.