Let’s talk, for a brief second, about things that are heartbreaking.
On December 21st, the longest night of the year, there was a memorial service of sorts held for the 34 homeless men and women who died this past year in our county.
In the days following, two more women passed away…and while I can’t be sure about the situation they were in when they died, I know that they had both stayed here at the Mission in the past six months.
Last year’s annual count of the homeless found almost 900 people without regular housing across the county.
What that means is that approximately 1 out of every 100 people here don’t have a place to call home.
There are people here who have become homeless because of a choice (or a series of choices) of their own–poor financial planning, drug and/or alcohol abuse, a lack of motivation to go out and look for a job, etc. And then there are those who didn’t get to choose. People get sick and are unable to pay their medical bills. The economy crashes and massive layoffs occur. Some are trapped by a generational curse and they think that since homelessness is all they know, it must be safer. And on and on and on.
Regardless of the reason for the circumstance they’re in, they are still people. They have human emotions and thoughts and worries just like the rest of us. They, too, deserve a chance to pick themselves back up and move forward.
In Mark 12:8, Jesus says, “You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.”
[Side note: I don’t know that “poor” necessarily has to do with finances. Jesus talks about those who are poor in spirit, those who are poor in the eyes of the world, the brokenhearted, the downtrodden, those in need, and so on.]
I think some people read this verse and think, well, hey, if the poor are always going to be among us, then anything that I do to help is pointless. If I help someone out of a rut, two more people are just going to fall right in.
Not what he’s saying. It’s more like, dang, I won’t always be physically present here on earth, able to help the poor in person, so that’s a job that falls on your shoulders.
Think about what that means for your life.