New Law: Illegal to Feed the Homeless In Public
When coming across the story of a pastor being arrested in South Florida for feeding the homeless my heart was broken. God calls us to reach out to the poor and be that light of Jesus Christ into their lives. So what do we do when a law is created not allowing us to do the very thing God called us to do? We find a loophole or way around it.
Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothes me, I was sick and you visited me." - Matthew 25: 35-36
In a relationship with someone, we do not just go out, buy them a meal, not speak and walk away. So why do we treat the poor that way? Not to take away from Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries do, but sometimes we get so focused on making sure they have food in their stomachs when you can tell they are hungry and yearning for more! When Jesus met the lady at the well, He said, if you drink this water you will still be thirsty, yet if you drink the Living Water that I give, you will never thirst again (paraphrase).
A lot of times I feel in my own personal journey, I have walked the streets seeking to handout a sandwich to a homeless person. So that I could return home, pat myself on the back and say I did something. Yes, they had one sandwich. But I realize more and more how people are not hungry for what the world offers; even though they may think that. But they are hungry for what God offers. Forgiveness, unconditional love, freedom, healing, a second chance!
Here's the solution: Take them to a restaurant and buy them breakfast, lunch, dinner or a coffee. Sit with them. Talk with them. Befriend them. Hear their stories, their hurts, their situation. Sometimes all someone needs is an ear to listen to feel human again. And when they have exhausted themselves with talking, it may take an hour or two but it will happen, you can talk to them about God's love for them. About the Saving Cross of Jesus Christ, God's desire to bring them home and His want to care for them, be in fellowship with them and give them another chance. Hope restored!
"You may be the only Jesus some people ever see."
Well truth is if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have what much of the world has not experienced. Next time you are in a situation where you feel led, by the Holy Spirit (that's what the Spirit does) to reach out and touch the life of the homeless, do not be afraid of what people might think, say or assume. You are the vessel of God's love to this person. Be the change that they need, the friend that they seek, and the reminder that God is still very much alive and active in this world!