This week a couple came to our church on one of our busiest days and was asking for help with a day or two in a hotel. They are homeless and have nowhere to go. They have been living at this hotel and under the bridge in town with their dog for a couple of months now, getting a night here and there at the worst hotel in town. We can do more.
It’s a familiar story we see and hear on a regular basis. It’s an even bigger problem in major cities, I’m sure. –People needing help with utility bills, prescription medications, rent or even just a place to sleep. And once you get into the cycle of needing help to pay your bills, it’s hard to break free. I mean, living out of a hotel isn’t cheap. How do you save any money without somewhere to cook your own meals?
I think we are going to see an increase in this kind of thing as boomers age and retire. So many people have not saved anything for retirement and social security won’t be enough to live on. What can we do to help others in this situation? We need to find some solutions. We can’t turn our backs on this any longer.
When our new priest first came to our church, he told me that he was responsible for the salvation of all the souls in our county. Now that is very humbling. Everybody? That’s almost 52,000 people in the county. I guess that is why you’ll find him hanging out at the bars, going to people’s homes for blessings and dinners. He’s involved in our community. Everybody knows Fr. Matt. He has conversations with homeless people.
What if we all took on his approach? What if we all considered ourselves “responsible” for our neighbors and those in our community? –Responsible for helping them, teaching them and loving them. Wouldn’t that change our lives and theirs?
I have never seen the movie Schindler’s List, but someone told me about how this one man, Schindler, saved the lives of a thousand Jews by employing them in his factories. How someone could feel responsible for so many others is how I’ve been feeling lately. Aren’t we responsible for the lives of those in our communities? I mean, don’t we have a responsibility to help everyone that we can? Isn’t that what “being the church” means? And I don’t mean just throwing a few dollars at them to get them going on their way again. It’s so easy, to throw some money at a problem and make it go away, for awhile, or let someone else handle it. And don’t misunderstand, I know there are people who are abusing the system. – Because they’ve learned to. But we can do more.
COVID taught some of us how easy it is to isolate ourselves from others. Just hole up somewhere until it goes away. And we are getting pretty good at isolation on our own. Looking at our phones, we can watch everyone’s lives from social media and pictures, where everything looks so good and everyone is smiling. But everything isn’t great and not everyone is smiling.
Time For Change
What if we all took it upon ourselves to mentor or advocate for others, and not just in our own families or circles. I mean, we all have problems. We all are able and know how to provide for ourselves and our families. Why can’t we teach others the same?
It got me thinking, I can do more in my own life to help others, more than just throw a couple dollars someone’s way. I know there are other people in my area who feel the way I do and I’m going to do something and invite them to do it with me. How about you?
When people see how we can love them by our actions, they will see Jesus through us. We can pray for them and with them. We can help them. Don’t leave it up to someone else or some government agency to do what God is calling us to do: to love and care for one another.
This whole article started out about how we can do more. I kind of pulled you all into it, haven’t I? I hope this has challenged you to want do more: more of the things that matter in this life because living life to the fullest is about loving and serving God and others. This life is about the salvation of souls. When we love others as Jesus loves, He shows up. We can do more. We can do better.
So step up to the plate and take action. Let’s teach our children to care for others. Invite a friend or one of your kids to do this with you if you feel a little uncomfortable doing it by yourself. (And always remember: No judgement. We all have problems.)
- Visit those in nursing homes who are lonely, or even an elderly neighbor. Develop a relationship with them, love on them.
- Talk to someone living “under the bridge” or in their car. What help do they need? Start a conversation.
- Volunteer for your local soup kitchen. Get involved.
- Donate money or goods to an organization that collects food and clothing for the poor.
- There are probably many organizations in your area who help others that need volunteers. Pick one that interests you. Give them an hour or two of your time each week or month. Call them to see what they need.
- Reach out to a friend on social media who is struggling. How can you help them?
We live in the best country in the world and have so much to be thankful for. We can do more. Thanks for following along. I appreciate you. God bless.–Barb