Some years ago, I was involved with a homeless ministry, gladly serving in any role needed. But one day, I met someone who discouraged me.
It wasn't a homeless person who discouraged me, it was another Christian.
"Oh, I used to help the homeless, but one day I realized that these people are just here for a handout and they refuse to do anything for themselves. I know these people and I know from witnessing firsthand how they behave. Why should we feed them and give them clothes and time when this time next year, they'll be back again, and again, and again? We are in a co-dependent relationship!"
Those words penetrated my head and caused my heart to be heavy. It was true that over the years, the same people came in through the program. Had I been creating a situation where these homeless people became unwilling to work and succeed because someone was always around to take care of their needs?
I spent a year or two away from the ministry, pondering this question and teetering between confusion and resignation.
But one day, as I considered the question, the Lord spoke to my heart.
"Kim, do it for me. Don't do it for them. Look at each one of those people and see me. Then do it for me."
Jesus wants us to see beyond another person's condition, situation, or motive. He wants us to stop judging others and to serve him, because as we serve and meet the needs of others, we are serving Jesus!
God just might be planning to use you as the person who will change another person's life, just because you were there and faithfully serving Jesus!
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:17-18
For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.