In my hometown of Kellogg, we do not deal with the homeless population in the same way as in an urban setting. Our homeless usually find a couch to sleep on, or a camper to live in.
It is not that way in the city. Here, people live on the streets, or in "tent cities" in and around a city, and are often much more visible.
I am in the city this weekend. I am in Seattle, Washington helping chaperone my daughter Coco's high school band on a trip. Today we went to the waterfront, and saw a few people asking for money.
It was in Seattle two years ago that my heart started going out to the homeless people.
I was in Seattle with some friends, and we were down by the waterfront. We were on the pier where you get on and off the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and there happened to be quite a few people in this area who were asking for money. One was a young lady not much older than my own daughters. And I didn't do anything. I think I made eye contact then walked right by with my friends.
Later that summer, Paul and I traveled to Washington D.C. We saw a large amount of homeless people on the streets on this visit. This was much different than when I had been in this city a few years before.
I had also been in New York City two years ago, and was also affected by the homeless population who we saw on the streets in the middle of February.
It was frustrating, because I wanted to help them all, but I can't.
I felt hopeless.
It was these encounters with homeless people that motivated me to organize a trip to New York City last July to celebrate my 50th birthday by helping serve people in New York City.
And this desire still burns within me.
In the Bible, Luke tells the story in Chapter 24 verse 32, about the disciples walking with Jesus after He had been resurrected, and they asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
That is what I feel like. Scripture has been opened to me about helping the poor, loving my neighbor, and living my life just the way Jesus lived His life. And for me, part of that is helping homeless people.
I want to go to a city and provide them comfort and joy, and eye contact, and a soft touch, and two ears to listen. Right now, my desire is for this city to be New York City.
Last summer just gave me a taste of what servant living is all about. And the desire to help these people is not going away. In fact, being in Seattle this weekend has made this desire even stronger.
So now to take the next step. How can I help others who have no home, lack food and/or shelter, and require ears to listen?
Pray for the right timing. Pray for guidance. Pray for love and understanding.
Pray to be more like Jesus.