I was reading one of my favorite bible passages to my son Jon today. Matthew 25:31-46. The words in our family bible are written in red. In this section
Being a positive person, I would like to just share with you what he says to those on his right hand, his sheep. Matthew 25:34-40 Then shall the Kind say unto them on his right hand come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was a hungered and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink, I was a stranger and ye took me in, Naked, and ye clothed me, I was sick and ye visited me, I was in prison and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? or naked and clothed the? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.
It goes on to talk about those on his left hand, the goats as it were.
I feel badly about the homeless in my home town Turlock. We are a town that boasts the Guinness world record for more churches per capita than any other city in the country. Yet with all the grand buildings to worship Jesus in we don’t have so much as a drafty barn to house our homeless.
I wonder in my heart what Jesus thinks about this? I have read my bible many times in my life and cant find any place in it with words in red that Jesus said build me a grand building to worship me in! I am simple minded in my faith. So I may be missing something.
A year ago I went to lots of meetings and participated in lots of discussions about the HUD sponsored shelter Turlock had, but wouldn’t open. A few things bothered me greatly. The dominate comments I had from some of our elected officials that are just flat out against any homeless shelter was that the homeless, were primarily drug addicts, thieves, mentally ill, with only a few being displaced normal people, or families. This to me reads like Matthew 25:40 “what you have done for the least of these you have done for me”
This is the reason I started with what Jesus says in Matthew. The words are in red so we don’t need to think much about who said what, or what is meant by these words. One council member last year quoted his study bible stating it wasn’t the government’s responsibility to provide for the homeless per Matthew 25. I could only bow my head and let the tear drop fall. Miss quoted at the least, intentionally manipulating even the words of Jesus at worse.
I am not critical of our counsel. I am saddened by them. As my family and I worked with hud to make an offer to buy the homeless shelter and use it for its intended use, our offer was ignored. In the end the shelter was sold for less than half of what it was bought for and the money sent back to HUD.
So all this is water under the bridge. But it is 28 degrees outside @ 8 pm on Sunday night; the weather reports a chance of snow in CA central valley this week.
I don’t know what to do, but what we can as a family which isn’t near enough to help get all the cold and hungry out of the cold, and feed. I do think that if lots of us got together, and everyone helped as they could collectively we could do this.
If anyone is interested give me a call and let’s see if we can figure this out. Maybe rent some of the abandoned homes around town? I don’t know but doubt the city could stop us from letting people stay in homes we rented? Or even a larger facility, with all the businesses going out and the vacant buildings all over town? Or maybe you have an idea?
Somehow this seems a simple task to help those less fortunate. But I think there is a lot more to all this. It starts with each of us watching for the chance to help another. This is a major change in attitude toward the homeless. “watching for a chance to help”. Most of us watch for a chance to get away from people that are less fortunate, or walk past them quickly. I have found and taught my children that sometimes we walk by, but anytime we even feel the slightest, smallest thought that we should help, that is the prompting of the holy ghost and we need to do whatever is within our power to help this person. I talk with my children about how many times we have prayed and asked God for help. Did he answer our prayers? Are we blessed? What if the person we are walking by has been praying for help, and God sends us to this person by putting this person in our path, and we simply walk by because they are dirty, addicted, mentally ill, or wearing poor clothing. What then?