Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27
I Was Homeless and You Helped Me
What do you do when you see a homeless person? I look the other way and pretend I don’t see him or her or them. Yet God confronts me, and maybe you, in James 2:14-18: What good is it, my brothers (and sisters), if a person claims to have faith but has no deeds? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Clare DeGraaf in his book, The 10-Second Rule, tells the following story:
I was in Chicago on Michigan Avenue and I saw a homeless man. God gave me a nudge to stop and talk to him. My heart wasn’t really in it. God was taking me out of my comfort zone.
So I asked, “Are you hungry? Let me buy you lunch.”
“Yeah, sure,” the man said without enthusiasm. I was sure he was hungry, so I just figured that he was as wary of me as I used to be of guys like him. This was new territory for both of us.
Despite his initial misgivings, he ate like he was going to the chair! Between mouthfuls, he asked an obvious question, “Why does a guy like you want to have lunch with a guy like me?”
Somewhat sheepishly I answered, “To be honest, I didn’t. But I’m a follower of Jesus, and I’m trying to obey the 10-Second Rule.”
Predictably, he asked about the “10-Second Rule.” I answered, and then we had a nice talk about his life, his dreams, where he’d gone wrong, his scattered and fractured family—all kinds of things.
The 10 Second Rule:
“Just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do.”
(and do it immediately before you change your mind!)
Was I any real help to him? I don’t know. But I left that restaurant a better man. Like most people, I often thought of homeless panhandlers as simply a nuisance, rather than as real human beings with crushed hopes, people needing grace as badly as I do. I believe God intended that one encounter, on that day, for me—to soften my heart. “
(Thank you Clare for reminding us that homeless people are real human beings with crushed hopes, people needing grace as badly as we do. Soften our hearts God. )
For more information on the 10 Second Rule and stories about people using the rule, please go to: Clare De Graaf – The 10 Second Rule.
Clare and others offer suggestions on how to care for a homeless-person:
(1) Rather than giving cash, Clare asks the homeless person what they really need right now. If it’s food, he drives them to get what they need and offers to take them and their groceries to wherever they live.
(2) Keep food cards for local stores and restaurants in your car, bill-fold, or purse
(3) Keep extra warm socks, blankets and fleece sweaters in your car. (Try to imagine a time when you were really really cold.
(4) Recognize them. The homeless know they are invisible to us. Give them the gift of knowing somebody realizes they exist. Share with them a smile, eye contact, a laugh or an experience. It is so painful to be so totally invisible, many homeless report.
(5) Reflect on: Matthew 25:35
(6) For more ideas on how to care for a homeless person, please go to my website: wisdomofthewounded and type in “homeless.”
Do you feel uncomfortable around a homeless person? Sherri shows us how to begin: Caring for a Homeless Person
Back to the God’s word to us: ‘What good is it, my brothers (and sisters), if a person claims to have faith but has no deeds? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.