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Sight To See For The Homeless

This morning I found myself in line at the coffee shop behind a man with heavy, dark eyeglasses, accompanied by a seeing-eye dog. I watched with amazement as he managed his way through hot coffee, sweeteners, napkins, stir sticks and cream containers... all while his faithful dog sat close by. We greeted each other and laughed about his dog’s love for coffee too!

As I stood there, I was immediately struck with a sense of how blessed we are to be able to see the world around us clearly through good eyesight. For most of us, the challenge is seeing our way through the issues and turning points of life, supporting our families, finding meaning and purpose, and making a difference in this world.

I then thought about the thousands of homeless men, women and children in our city today, and pondered as I do every day, how do we really best help them have the sight to see their way to a whole and productive life once again?

How do we provide sight for the homeless of our city to believe in themselves again and become truly independent citizens once more? How do we walk alongside them in the most meaningful way and lead them into mainstream living?

There has been a lot of discussion about the community’s role in this effort: what kind of services should be provided and, most recently, how should caring people feed our homeless brothers and sisters to ensure best practices for the health and safety of everyone.

As I ponder these questions, I immediately think of Jesus’ encounter with a lawyer who asked how to find eternal life. Jesus answered that he was to love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul and strength, and to love his neighbor as he did himself. The lawyer then asked, well, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with the story of a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, who fell among robbers and was stripped, beaten and left for dead. A Priest and then a Levite came upon the injured man, but both passed him by on the other side of the road, not wanting to get involved. Then a Samaritan traveler came upon the man, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. He immediately came to him, bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then put the man on his own beast, took him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day he gave money to the innkeeper to care for the man until he could return. Jesus asked the lawyer: "which of these three proved to be a good neighbor?" And he said “the one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said, “go and do the same.”

Sight to See for the Homeless in our City comes from all of us working together, to feed, clothe, and shelter those who have lost their way in this life. But most importantly it comes from us loving them with this kind of love and compassion... and staying with them to provide for their recovery and their road to a new life.

This is what Star of Hope does every day for thousands in our city, within the fabric of over 100 other agencies, and hundreds more churches and individuals who seek to see the homeless restored. Let’s all work together to be "good neighbors"... and help our homeless move out of street life and into a new life filled with Hope and a newfound joy in living, with clear sight to see their way forward!

Homeless Shelters Houston -- Star of Hope Mission

Comments for Sight To See For The Homeless

Name: Suzanne Womack
Time: Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thank you Hank for this wonderful analogy and reason for us to give deep thought and consideration to those less fortunate than ourselves. Your commitment is a blessing beyond measure. Thank you is not enough!

Name: Tina Kingshill
Time: Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm grateful that Star of Hope is being led by a man filled with the Spirit of Christ. God bless you and your work.

Name: Kim Gomez
Time: Friday, March 23, 2012

So, then, how are we to respond when a person who is obviously in distress comes up to your car window asking for a donation? The Mayor has asked that we donate to service organizations and not directly to the needy. I do both. Not always do I give, but when my heart is moved to do so, I do. I have a hard time just ignoring a person who looks absolutely miserable and I take most of those encounters as an opportunity to do God's work---helping the least of His.

Name: Hank Rush
Time: Monday, March 26, 2012

Thanks for your comments. My heart is moved too when I encounter people on the streets in apparent distress. In a safe, public situation I will roll down the window and talk with them, and encourage them to seek help at Star of Hope or others dedicated to meeting their needs. I have stopped giving money, as I have heard from so many that the dollars are not generally used for what you intend. Instead I give them a zip lock bag with a water bottle, granola bars, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc. to help with their immediate need. Click on this link for more about these "We Care Packages" you can make at home.

Most of the time they appreciate the thoughtfulness and the conversation of concern. The best answer is always for them to seek long term help, and your words may be just what is needed to begin a changed life. Hope this is helpful!

Name: Dwayne K. Sampson
Time: Thursday, March 29, 2012

It is hard to imagine this world without the body of Christ doing the work of God. I am so glad and thankful for this body. Thank you in Jesus' name.

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