“For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’” Deuteronomy 15:11
We have a friend, whom we consider part of our family, who has chosen to live the “homeless” lifestyle. There was a time in her life that she had a great job, and life was good for her. She was a fun person to be around. Her parents were well established and financially stable. Her father and mother each had given homes for her to dwell in after they passed away, but over time she lost those homes because of her drug addiction. She has been living on the streets in town since losing the homes. Many times we have seen her walking around town. She’s learned to survive the homeless lifestyle for twenty-five years now.
It’s heartbreaking for us to watch her steadily regress physically over the past years.
Periodically she will call us (using a borrowed phone) to see if she can stay for a few days—especially when the weather is really cold and rainy in the winter, or very hot in the summer. When we pick her up at whatever location she is, she usually has only the clothes on her back, although sometimes she has a box of extras. We always welcome her in so she can shower, eat, and sleep. We have extra clothing on hand for her as well. We have established boundaries for her during her stay, and so far she has demonstrated respect toward them.
After she has rested and eaten well, she is always willing and ready to go back to her lifestyle, which appears to be her comfort zone. The longest period of time she has stayed with us is ten days in a row, which is encouraging to us because many times prior to that she could only stay away from her lifestyle no more than a day or two, and we praise God for the progress!
God never intended that there be poverty in the world, but when sin entered His perfect creation in the Garden of Eden, the poor have always been with us. As long as we live in this fallen world, we are to be open-handed, giving freely, doing it without a grudging heart as we share the love of the Lord with them.
I’m grateful that our church takes care of the church body, as well as those in need. Caring for the poor is good for us as well as them! He blesses both of us!
Thank You, Lord, for Your reminder that we need to be available to the poor for their physical and spiritual needs as we see Your day drawing near. Help us to share generously what You have given to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.