Homeless men panhandle for spare change on a street corner. Haggard women push grocery carts loaded with trash bags full of curious possessions. Bearded men stare blankly through you as you pass in your car, headed to your next destination. Perhaps you pray for one of them when you drive by, or when you divert on the sidewalk to avoid meeting them head-on. But when you’re gone, where do they go?
Each of those human beings spends the night somewhere other than “home.” The homeless find rest under bridges, in tent cities camped under freeway overpasses, or—if they’re blessed to live in Huntsville—they have a warm meal and a warm cot at the Mission. With hearts as big as Alabama, the Downtown Rescue Mission meets the needs of the indigent, the rejected and the hungry, reaching each one with a Gospel message. The volunteers and staff there are “Jesus with skin on,” providing a meal, a bed and the encouraging word of Jesus Christ to every needy soul in their ministry to the broken hearted and down-trodden.
Cindy and I have a heart for the homeless. Whether camping under a bridge or waiting at the door of the mission for a meal, they’re people remarkably LIKE us—human beings who want to be loved, to be accepted, and who have basic needs. Cindy and I contribute to the ministry of the Mission, and other organizations like it in Huntsville, and we look for opportunities to reach out to homeless in every city we visit. Spend an afternoon on the street feeding people you’ve never known and make friends for eternity.
Don’t give money to panhandlers. Most often, it ends up as alcohol, tobacco or drugs. But do support your local homeless ministry. Get outside yourself. Ask a homeless person if she has had a meal today, then buy her something to eat and stay with her while she eats. Fellowship with her, pray for her by name while you join her, and pray for her later. In as much as you do it unto her, you do it unto Him who loved us first.