“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

Homeless Folks — Hide or Help?

(Please read Matthew 25:31-46)

August 31

Years ago a moderately large city was about to be honored by the visit of the President of the United States. City fathers were happy and excited to be hosting the great man. There were many meetings to plan for his arrival at the airport, a speech in the city, and a parade through downtown streets to the hotel where the President and his entourage would spend the night.

The planners seemingly thought of everything, including squads of sharpshooters on the roofs of some downtown buildings and practice runs of the parade routes. But somewhere in their preparations they ran into controversy about a touchy subject: what to do about the homeless people who tended to be among the less attractive sights the city had to offer?

The area near the hotel, in particular, was known to be populated by panhandlers and winos in the evenings. The city would literally wash the streets and sidewalks in that area on the arrival day, but they couldn’t wash the people off that easily. The prevailing idea seemed to be simply to move those people out of sight. The discussion made many wonder what harm there was in letting the President see these constituents of his.

What if Jesus had been finicky about being around poor people? Actually he was homeless himself and always exhibited love for the poor. If we want to be like him, as individuals or congregations, we must do the same. It is evident from our text that in the last day he will be much impressed by kind treatment of people in need, and not at all by our large bank balances.

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