But Agent X! If I let a bum into my house I am vulnerable to physical harm! What if the bum rapes me, kills me, and/or steals my stuff – my precious stuff??? You gotta be crazy to open your house up to bums!
Yeah. Maybe so. But if you read your New Testament, you find Jesus opening exactly those kinds of doors (Rev. 3:20) making you utterly vulnerable. Quite “frightening to fall into the hands of a living God” (Heb. 10:31) alright. Maybe you have heard of the cost of discipleship??? Jesus is worth the risk!
But to take my line of reasoning is not to capitulate to disaster outright. There are tons of ways that shrewd Christians can mitigate a number of these kinds of risks while still being loyal to Jesus and ministering to the homeless by means of providing them a HOME.
But we really must get past our contempt, and at root, I believe the fear factor outlined above serves more to mask the contempt we have for God’s creatures (the homeless) than it does to burden us with more fear than we can bear. If we loved the homeless, really loved them, like brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, we would not likely even mention our fears (see I John 4:18).
No. If we are shrewd as vipers, we can tend the flock quite effectively and without fear. But we must elevate our estimation of the homeless as Jesus would have us do (Matt. 25:40). We must love them like we love Jesus. And that can start by opening up church gymnasiums, sanctuaries, and family life centers to all who will submit to the call of Jesus.
Think of how many wolves in sheep’s clothing opt out of the fold right up front! Most of the really bad bums take themselves out of the picture! Yet it requires the people of God to roll up their sleeves and share the burden, because the motley crew a church invites into their facilities will need chaperones around the clock! People to feed, clothe, disciple, and share with those in need. And you can’t do those things with contempt in your heart.
But look at the rich beauty of this: You just invited the Revelation 3:20/Matthew 25:40 Jesus into your church!
As you shepherd these sheep, you begin to develop interpersonal relationships – remember when your pastor preached that wonderful lesson last year about how your faith is ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIP? What did you think that meant??? And as your trust grows in various individuals, you can begin to employ them to tend other sheep. You can also invite them into your HOME.
By this time, you know them. They know you. Your church family knows you and them. This isn’t just a matter of strangers risking everything and throwing caution to the wind! No. It is more shrewd than that. It holds all involved to account. It also makes for a rather safe situation (assuming that is important to Jesus) in which to host homeless people in your HOME – which is what they need.
(Btw, all of this is done without raising a dime you weren’t already spending on yourselves! – No fundraising necessary!!!)
Homeless people need a HOME. They will never get it if you perpetually keep them at arms length. You must embrace the Revelation 3:20/Matthew 25:40 Jesus in a faith-based RELATIONSHIP that fosters discipleship and personal growth. This is a matter of opening your HOME to Jesus. And in the midst of that we find an Acts 2:43-45 style church – the Body of Christ. And that is what we are really here for… think about it.