Thursday, January 19, 2006

Underrated


Some are going to take this as an opportunity for me to say something new and shocking, but right now I'm sticking with it. OK, here goes: I think homelessness is underrated. Stay with me. I mean it, at least for now. Where did I get this "crazy" idea? I was driving my son home from trombone lessons and we passed an RV storage area. First I saw all the RVs, then I thought about homeless people getting into these vacant vehicles to live, and then I saw the tall barbed wire fence, thinking this was to keep illegals out. This isn't about immigration, but I thought I'd hint at something with the previous sentence. After I passed the RV place, I looked around and said to my son, "California is a great place for the homeless to live. There's the weather. All you need is a sleeping bag and a pillow. They have these regional parks with facilities and lots of public transportation." My mind went to a recent article saying that the LA area had the most homeless in the U. S. I thought about how warm it was there. Then my mind took an awkward turn towards the advantages of homelessness. Let me pause to say this: I'm not advocating homelessness. Most people in that condition are bums. We know that. However, wasn't Jesus homeless? Ooops. That's right, He was. Respectfully, He wasn't a bum, so it isn't homelessness itself that is the problem, is it? You know the verse about foxes having holes, birds having nests, but the Son of Man having nowhere to lay His head. And we have no mention of an earthly home. But we don't have that emphasis with Abraham either. He lived in a tent, as did other patriarchs.

People argue about home ownership and a lot of the arguments are materialistic. If we debate Scripturally, we use "wise stewardship." But think about what homes often do to us? We work more to pay for them. We take a lot of time to fix them. We spend a lot of money on them. We shop for things to decorate them. We buy things for the home that tend toward our own comfort and convenience, all kinds of entertainment. They feel very good to us, so that we look forward to staying in them. We don't like to leave them. Socializing is messy. If someone rings the doorbell, we can get perturbed, feel bothered. I don't think I'm wrong to opine that most people hardly don't even know their neighbors, the ones we are to love as ourselves. We don't have to try to ignore them---it comes naturally. How much time and money are spent on a home! It's amazing when you think about it. And what for? We won't take it with us. We'll be in heaven for ever, but do we live like it? The home, it's the American dream, but could it be heaven's nightmare? How many people stop short of the mission field because of living arrangements? Alright, I'm done for now, and at this point I'm staying with this: homelessness is underrated.

3 comments:

Cathy McNabb said...

As an ER nurse in Chicago I see quite a few homeless, even in the Children's hospital I work at. For the most part, I don't tolearte adults, however when I care for a homeless adult, it is similiar to that of taking care of a small child.
The homeless are some of the innocent and appreciative people you can ever meet. They are grateful any little thing that is done for them, a box lunch, a warm blanket, a smile.
One tip though, never take the shoes off of a homeless person. You do it once and you will know why.

Have you ever washed the feet of a homeless person? It is the most humbling experience.

Kent Brandenburg said...

The homeless don't make homelessness look very appealing. I was thinking of one homeless Man washing another homeless man's feet---Jesus and Peter. Of course, most homeless in this country have many other big problems. I've talked to many, and most of them choose their condition in part because their faculty to choose has disintegrated beyond usefulness. I don't plan on campaigning for this, but to make people think about what's important. Thanks for your input.

Jerry Bouey said...

The majority of the homeless are there because of bad or deliberate choices on their part - some don't want the responsibility of a regular job and being tied to one house/apartment, some would rather waste their money on their addictions, some are lazy or want just to travel whereever the excitement and the road leads them.

Some are in legitimate need, and these are the ones that are grateful for the help, will take the job (or way out) when offered, some are sorry for the sinful choices that they made that ruined their lives, and some are a hodgepodge of all of the above - didn't deliberately choose to be where they are, made some bad choices, got involved with the wrong crowd, but now find themselves where they never wanted to be.

I preach at my local Gospel Mission, trying to offer hope to the homeless in my city. Present them the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, share the promises in God's Word, teach them some foundational truths, and then put shoe leather to my faith and share my life with them - troubles, victories, and all. Every soul saved is worth it!