For the past couple of months, I have been driving a van for the local homeless shelter and it has really been an enjoyable experience so far. Basically, I pick up a van load of people from the shelter and take them to town, drop them off at the court house and they go their separate ways from there. During the course of our trips, I have the opportunity to engage in conversation with various people who find themselves homeless at the moment and this has been extremely eye opening but also VERY surprising! Take today for example:
A guy named Mike was sitting in the passenger seat next to me and as I usually do, I tried to strike up a conversation. During the friendly banter, he asked if I was volunteering from a church group in the area and I let him know that we were kind of just doing this on our own, but we are attending a church in the area. I asked him if he went to church and he said “nah, I think most of the churches around here are apostate!” Immediately, my curiosity was piqued! I realized how biased I was because I did not expect a homeless guy to know what the word ‘apostate’ meant, nonetheless use it in the correct context. So, I prodded him further by asking him what he meant by that.
What he said next hit me in the gut like a ton of bricks: “Well, most of the churches that I go to seem to be more worried about how their service looks rather than who they’re serving. I love the book of Acts and my favorite part is when it says that they were ‘all together, in one mind and one accord and they sold everything they had and helped each other’. To me, this is true Christianity and I just don’t see it in many churches around here.”
WOW! I really couldn’t respond … I think I muttered, “Wow Mike, I agree with you 100%!” I’ve said those things a million times but when I heard it come from someone who is DIRECTLY impacted by our selfishness and preoccupation with things that do not matter, it cut me to the heart. Here is a man who has gone to the church looking for that same community, love and compassion that he read about in the first church but instead he continually found “churches” that were more concerned with being blessed instead of being a blessing. We have co-opted the Gospel of the Kingdom for the American dream and it has rendered us inconsequential to the very people we are supposed to be reaching. Mike looked at the church in the book of Acts and the church of America and sees NO RESEMBLANCE!
What will you do with your Homeless in America?
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