Besides the fact that Jesus was born homeless, at least for that one night; what is perhaps of greater interest is the fact that Jesus chose the way of homelessness during his three years of ministry. In Luke 9 Jesus responds to a man who says he will follow him wherever he goes: 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.'
But did Jesus really advocate homelessness? Did he really tell us to reject our families? That seems very irresponsible of him, does it not? Jesus does urge his followers to take no thought of their life; he tells a wealthy man to sell everything and give it to the poor and he makes some shocking demands of family disloyalty. But Jesus is talking about where people put their trust, where they find their security. Jesus was a man who had conquered fear, and did not need the security of an earthly home, because he knew exactly who he was and where his security lay. His home was the Kingdom of God, and the work of that Kingdom was first in his life.
The question we must ask (and it is not a comfortable one) is this: where is our heart and our home? That is, where have we stored up our treasures? Where does our security lie? Does it rest in our families, our material wealth, our society? It is not enough to simply follow a path that is deemed safe from the perspective of the world. We need to find our home elsewhere, to fix our eyes on things that are eternal, and we need to live that out in our daily walk.
Jesus’ identification with the poor and homeless is therefore a potential source of great strength for the homeless in our world today. But we who are his followers must be prepared to identify in the same way, to see ourselves as brothers and sisters of the destitute, to treat them not as objects of our pity, but as sharers in our love and community.
Jesus was homeless. It is too small a thing to say we follow Jesus but still cling tightly to our earthly security. Are we prepared to give up our 'homes'? Are we prepared to see Jesus in the face of the homeless today?
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