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!