I’ve mentioned before that I work downtown. There are a number of homeless people on the corners with their cardboard signs to share their stories. I have started to keep extra food in my bag so I can share it with them as I go to and from my building.
As I left work last night I passed a man trying to rest on a bench, all he owned was tucked under his head as a makeshift pillow. On another bench was a woman with a beautiful smile who asked if I was leaving work. I said, yes, that I was heading home. My heart felt a pang as I thought about the comfortable bed I had and the hard bench she had for a bed.
I thought about the things I could do to make a difference. I could contact different service organizations or even the city officials to draw attention to the “plight” of the homeless in my city. I could organize church groups to collect clothes, blankets, food and the like to hand out. While all of these ideas are valid and may be worth pursuing, I just didn’t see them as something for me to do.
Instead, I am going to take a page from Mother Theresa who once said, “Do small things with great love.” The homeless aren’t a statistic, they aren’t some dirty, less-than-human entity, they are a living, breathing, wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of God, person.
I want to keep things on a personal level, not put them on a “cause” level. There are times to support a cause, get behind one, begin speaking out for one. Then there are times to take a moment, look the person in the eye, take their hand, and let them know they matter.
“Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:7).