She arrived late at night in a car filled with what she could carry. Three years ago she’d lost her job. She still hadn’t found another. One year ago she vacated her rental condo after it was sold. Ever since then she’d had to depend on friends, but their resources had run out. So here she was at the door of a stranger, a friend of a friend of a friend. At the age of fifty-nine she had nowhere else to turn after spending a few nights sleeping in her car. She wasn’t a drug addict or wino, but a Christian whose life hadn’t turned out the way she’d hoped
The idea of a believer ending up on the street should strike a cord in the heart of Christians who are more fortunate. After all, in Matthew 25:31-40 Lord Jesus told the disciples how things would be when He returned to establish His kingdom. To those who have been faithful He will say, “… Come, you blessed of My Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in.” Those who heard Him asked when these things had happened, to which He replied, “… Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
During the holiday season, churches often provide meals for those in need. On an ongoing basis, organizations run shelters so those without a bed have a place to sleep. However, this keeps the plight of the less fortunate at a safe distance. Looking forward to the New Year, believers can take a more hands on approach. Instead of waiting for someone who has fallen on difficult times to come forward, why not establish a resource center at church. Bulletin boards can advertise work-search assistance, housing assistance, and food and clothing providers. Car pools can transport those in need of help to a library where they have free Internet access. Even inviting someone over for a home-cooked meal around the dinner table can give comfort, some assurance that they are not alone, and that their God has not forgotten them.
For those who wish to honor Lord Jesus by helping His brethren, here are some resources you can go to. Help by City is a national directory for finding homeless shelters and other assistance in your community. With cold weather approaching, some shelters open when the temperature drops below 45 degrees. Workforce Florida provides assistance for those seeking employment. Food Pantries.org lists locations by city. FreePublicAssistance.com is a one-stop shop for obtaining help, including temporary financial aid and rental assistance.
However, after one has done all they can, remember, the person needing help should be willing to do whatever it takes to get back on their feet.