1. Don’t judge people by what I see. Some are on the street because of addictions, mental illness, bad choices, and just plain bad luck. But my place is not to condemn out of arrogant self-righteousness or fixing the speck in someone elses eye while ignoring the plank in mine.
2. Giving a few handouts doesn’t solve the basic problem. There are complex cultural, economic, social, and spiritual issues that lead to homelessness. About 6,000 people in Austin are living on the streets. We are just helping a few folks make it through another day.
3. Even though this may be only a band-aid, I still believe this is the work of Jesus. “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:41-42
Even though they may not see it this way, I also believe that the people in high places in Austin who are trying to sponsor real solutions and enact legislation beneficial to the poor are also engaged in the work of Jesus.
4. What I want to say to every church member – do not look away from the poor! Do not consider yourself better than the poor. They are our brothers and sisters. As Mother Theresa said, the poor are Jesus in his most distressing disguise. If we do not offer compassion to the poor, then how can we say we really know Jesus who ministered almost entirely to the poor?
5. Many people in my church have brought in clothing that is given freely. Thank you. Let’s keep it up. And let’s somehow go further to join with those seeking more than just a band-aid. What might that be?