Ending Homelessness – the missing link
When I began this ministry almost 7 years ago I didn’t know quite how I would accomplish what I had set out to do. There was no book entitled “How to Run a Homeless Shelter.” I knew there were people who didn’t have an appropriate place to stay because, as a Pastor, I was continually being approached by those needing lodging for the night. My small church didn’t have any funds for this type of thing and so I would have to turn them down. The government had initiatives to “End Homelessness.” They throw money at the problem and start bureaucracies. But the answer still eludes them. It reminded me of the time during a children’s sermon when the children were asked “What is grey and furry with a large bushy tail, that climbs trees and eats and stores nuts?” There was a long pause and a boy in the back raised his hand and said, “It sounds like a squirrel but I know the answer is Jesus.” Lots of adult laughter ensued but his answer was actually correct. In all of the government programs the one missing element is Jesus. And it is forbidden in most cases. A personal relationship with our Lord is central to solving the problem of homelessness and almost everything else for that matter. Yes, the government is always searching for the answer but it’s like the man who found a young lady on her hands and knees under a street light obviously searching for some unseen object. As he approached he said, “can I help you?” to which she replied, “I lost my contact lens.” So he said, “let me help you” and got down on his hands and knees and began searching as well. After searching for a while he asked, “Where did you lose it?” to which she replied, “about 15 feet over there.” He asked, “why are you looking over here?” She replied, “Because the light’s better over here.” The lesson here is that if you’re looking in the wrong place, the answer won’t be found even if the search is easier.
We have had a great deal of success in helping over 1300 homeless people but we always start the process by presenting Jesus, the answer to most problems.