We Took In This Homeless Person, And He Took Over Our Home

I get it now.  I must confess.  Perhaps I was a bit rash when I insisted that Christians take homeless people into their homes and put them up in guest bedrooms that go empty night after night.  I mean that sounds good in theory, but in practice…?  Wow!  You just don’t know what you are getting into.  I suppose I should be more careful about the things I insist my brothers and sisters do with their church-houses, their homes, their time, their money and their energy.

Yeah, my house took in this one homeless person that just overwhelmed us.  After this experience, I will be much more realistic about things.  I mean this guy just cried and whined whenever he didn’t get his way – which it turns out was a lot, and we heard it from him day and night.  He was too hot.  He was too cold.  He got a sniffle.  He didn’t like what we were eating and would turn his nose up at it.  Never seemed the slightest bit grateful.  Never once said “thank you” for anything.

Help him get a job???  Forget it!  He was not about to go to work.  Wouldn’t even begin to fill out a job application.  Perhaps I should have seen it for what it was then and kicked him out.

If you have been reading here long, you may recall my post that featured the guy on the street corner that smelled of piss.  He was a hardcore alcoholic who wet his own pants and did not change them or shower for days!  Well, this guy managed to mess his pants too.  Both number 1 and number 2.  And then he needs my help cleaning that stuff up!

Oh MY GOD!!!

I kept trying to see Jesus in him.  I kept telling myself that he was the Matthew-25 Jesus (the stranger we took in), but he just exhausted every kindness and charity we could muster.  Sometimes I would look into his face and ask myself, “Is this really Jesus?”  Then I would wonder, surely Jesus was supposed to comfort me!  Jesus is my savior; I am not his – nor am I supposed to be!

And I got to say, waking up at three in the morning to fix him another bottle, change his diaper, and rock him back to sleep in the rocking chair sure makes a guy question all that, alright.  If this foster baby is Jesus come to stay in my house, he has come in and turned the tables, scattered my money all over the place, and turned it into a house of prayer alright! (Mark 11:15-17).  Yeah, if Jesus comes into your house, whether as a grown man driving everyone out with a whip (John 2:15) or as a baby no one has room at the inn (Luke 2:7), he will take the place over!  Might seem hostile to every little agenda you ever set for yourself.

But then as I watch those little eyes get heavy and drift back to sleep, I think I am in the presence of great HOLINESS.  I have come to see God and NOT live (Exod. 33:20).  My life comes to an end there as his takes me over.

May the servants of the house be prepared for the Master’s return (Mark 13:33-37).  May you recognize the day of your visitation! (Luke 19:44).  You might just entertain angels unaware (Heb. 13:2) or even God himself (Gen. 18).

(Yes, I typed up this post in the middle of the night.  I will let you guess what prompts it.)

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5 comments

  1. T. F. Thompson · May 4

    Yeah, I can’t imagine why you are awake and up at three in the morning. A remarkable post. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post X! Loved the reference to Mark 11:15-17. You painted a vivid picture of what you and your family were going through in trying to help this guy. Wonder if Jesus tells His Father the same things about us? I had a very stressful situation the other day and was using the words damn and hell like salt and pepper. I thought nothing of it…in fact it felt good, until God spoke through my nine yr. old and said, “Wow mom! We better take our camping gear with us when you stand before the Judgement Seat…cuz we’re gonna be there for a real LONG time!” …Needless to say, I put the ‘salt and pepper’ back in the cupboard, apologized to my son, and asked God to forgive me for my whining and ungrateful heart! I’m going to use a part of your post in my post today…hope that is ok with you! Thanks again! -anita

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debi · May 4

    You had me there for a minute. But as much as you and I agree on many things, I can’t help but wonder if we *should* be taking in adult homeless folks, and what if they *did* take over the house, whine all the time, refuse to get a job… What then?

    Like

    • Agent X · May 4

      Thanx so much for asking that, Debi! I really appreciate it.

      Everybody’s different so… People in need have different needs and people with something to offer have different offerings. We should try to match them up as much as possible in some wise system. But that will never be a perfect program. Nevertheless, let me paint the picture I imagine serving God well.

      Homeless people come to us in varying degrees of house-broke readiness. Some are truly sick and/or addicted beyond the pale. Some are just extremely outdoorsy and adventuresome. But all are humans made in the image of God and need help understanding that and living like it. None of us do it on our own. We all have help – and still me mess it up. But for those who just are not house -ready (of what ever kind) I would like to see our churches host them on church grounds perhaps with tent options and so forth, but always grooming them to move indoors to be part of the group. But most of our churches have family life centers with gymnasiums, showers, kitchens, laundry facilities etc. And even those that don’t have some of those services – at least a bathroom. Church buildings usually have classrooms, and if not sanctuaries filled with pews. Almost all of these facilities go unused 5 – 6 days a week, and practically every night of the year. They can easily and cheaply be converted into sleeping and living quarters.

      As street drifters come to take shelter at a church, they should quickly learn that the shelter is actually the fringe benefit. They are actually being included in the party. Worship of Jesus was always intended to be a party – a celebration of the bridegroom! We eat at his table! And there is no doubt that plenty of people need to learn table manners to join, but being invited to the Luke-14 party is not some kind of complicated rocket surgery. Most homeless folk, if given the chance, take to it like a duck to water. It’s actually pretty natural (too bad our pastors don’t seem to know that).

      The discipleship begins there at the table. We basically teach these people to be loved and welcomed. Teach them to care about themselves. But after many years of being abused and abusing themselves and drugs and so forth, this will require much the kind of patience as that of raising babies. We need to commit ourselves to the long haul. There are differences between babies and adults, alright, but not nearly as much as we like to think. And we really need to get out of our minds this desperate need to know where the exits are marked, and instead get in our minds that loving people IS loving God and he really needs a lot of love from us! Costly love. Sacrificial love.

      All parties require clean up. Dishes, sweeping, mopping etc. Guests should be treated as guests. But when they begin to want to inject their own ideas or invite others they might disciple too, that makes a good time to gently persuade them to start taking on some of the responsibilities for the party too. Again with patience for growth which will not usually move forward in a steady straight line.

      KEEP THE PARTY CENTRAL! We are usually in a hurry to get these folks a job. That time will come, but I have infants in my house that are YEARS away from that kind of thing. Some adults will be too. But there are other creative ways for individuals to contribute, and we need to look for those in each individual. Some can lead a song or strum a guitar. Some can cook. Some can build or do other labor. All can find their contribution, but it does not have to be A JOB. And if that plays a part, it can really wait – a long time.

      As the church begins discipleship with these folk, some will quickly (others more slowly) present themselves as “house broke/ready”. These individuals could/should be paired up with a family that will ‘adopt” them. Especially families with spare bedrooms. That is an empty space going empty night after night while Jesus sleeps in the cold! Why would a Christian family do that???

      Not all families are ready to host like that for various reasons. I do not wish to burden such people indiscriminately. Perhaps Widow lady Wilson should not take in a 35 year old man! Surely good shepherds can discern such… But there is a wealth of spare rooms in Christian homes all across this land. And there is a wealth of Jesus (least of these) out there needing to be invited in.

      But I would not have an eye for them to leave. I personally see no need for a “graduation” of some sort. I think once you become family, you stay family. IF this person reaches a point in life where it makes sense to leave, then fine. Some will settle down and want to marry and have kids. That would probably require they move on at some point. But others will just become that brother/aunt or uncle that lives with you – kinda the way families used to do in agrarian times.

      Again, this person should be able to contribute something. At this point that would likely involve a job and some financial offerings to the communal kitty, but maybe not for everyone. Each family could work that out.

      In this way, I see people working out their individual gifts, and complementing the weaknesses of others with strengths God gives us. But as always, the PARTY is central to it all from start to finish (whatever finish looks like – heaven???).

      Now… There will be times of tough love and discipline. It cannot be avoided, nor should it. But neither should it be our central feature. Why go into this ministry with that as the goal? Worshipping Jesus is what you were made for, and the whole thing should be geared for that. Nevertheless, the New Testament does give us instructions here and there for kicking people out (mostly with the hope that it wises them up so they come back better prepared to grow). It is really not about GETTING RID of anybody – that is pretty much the problem we are trying to fix to begin with. But yes, sometimes you do kick folks out. And I think that if the whole church is involved at every stage and has a part to play in holding even those joined with families in a home environment, then worship can and should be central to it all with “life” happening as a result and jobs and so forth playing a bit part in that.

      I hope I offer an answer. I am sure it is not THE answer, and could use a lot more shaping up. But I also hope it sets your imagination free and that of your church. There is a big old lost world out there that needs Jesus really badly. And you cannot be lost AT HOME, by definition. And HOME is a place of celebration. I know when I was born, I was celebrated, and we still throw a party for me every year around the day that commemorates that time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. T. F. Thompson · May 4

    Debi: I’ve had that happen more than once. Of course, you throw to the bum out. No big deal. Expressing love and respect goes BOTH ways. We should always show respect to others, and when they want to take advantage of something that is harmful to us and to them, then once again, you act in love.

    Like

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