Just like any other city, Abilene has problems. One of the city’s problems that can be seen every day is the issue of homelessness.
A taboo problem, yes, but important nonetheless. Homelessness affects the person suffering the predicament and others in the community.
Two main thoughts have emerged on this issue. As followers of Christ and decent human beings, we can either show homeless people kindness or we can take greater steps to solve the problem.
Those for showing kindness view acts of giving time, money and materials as having an impact on the issue, regardless of how small. Those for solving the problem usually refrain from small acts of kindness in order to tackle the bigger issues, like why so many people are on the streets.
No matter which perspective a person takes, a homeless person is still a human being. Everyone has a different story from where they were to where they are now. Those who live in homelessness are not helpless, but many times their circumstances have an overwhelming impact on their lives, as they do with us.
If you were to sit down and talk with a homeless person, you might hear about how they fought in Vietnam only to return to find no work, or how one woman’s mother left just before she turned 18, leaving her to raise her siblings and forsake an education.
We are still called to address the problem, not to criticize those who suffer. Deuteronomy 15:10-11 addressed the issues and the reservations people have toward the less fortunate when it said, “Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart, then, because of this, the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be open-handed toward your fellow Israelites, who are poor and needy in your land.”
So, regardless of how you approach the issue of homelessness, from small acts of kindness to in-depth acts, it’s time to start working.
It’s time to stop procrastinating, waiting until we have a better paying job to hand out one dollar bills to those at stop signs. Waiting until the next time we see that homeless person outside your favorite fast food place. Waiting until we have an easier schedule. Because things will never get easier, and we will always look for that “next time.”
Programs are set up to help our brothers and sisters in these situation. Pick up page two and read the volunteer opportunities: Breakfast on Beech Street Mon. – Fri., Love and Care Ministries and the West Texas Food Bank.
God gave us hands, he gave us feet and he continues to give us ample opportunities to do his work. It’s time to start acting like his children.