By Reverend Max Caylor – United Methodist Minister
In freezing temperatures some 40 concerned people gathered Saturday at Lee Newton Park to pray for God’s guidance to prick the hearts of church believers, concerned citizens and government elected officials to take action caring for local homeless persons.
One of those who prayed simply asked, “God show us your direction for our homeless.” They added, “I want these persons to know we care and want to help restore them to a more productive life.” And, of course, we were reminded as to their account the “Bible mentions over 100 times to care for the poor and homeless.”
The homeless issue came into sharp focus a few weeks ago when a business owner, just off Main Street, allowed a homeless person to sleep in their business and escape the winter weather.
The number of homeless grew to 6-8 persons and the business owner began to use a vacant building close to their business to house and feed the folks who needed shelter. They said, “being a Christian I could not just turn them out into the cold with no place to go.”
Soon the business owner discovered that zoning prohibited a homeless shelter in the area although people are living on the same block. The homeless shelter area was inspected and found to be unsafe and they have been legally informed they are in violation of ordinances. So, let’s have a prayer meeting and ask God to spiritually intervene in the situation.
One of the more than 100 scriptures on caring for the poor and homeless is written in Matthew’s Gospel ( 25:31-46) where Jesus is talking about the final judgment when people will be separated between sheep and goats. What’s the difference?
New Testament Professor Carla Works from Wesley Seminary enlightens us, “Jesus says that whenever they (Disciples and followers) gave food to the hungry, welcomed a stranger (took them in), clothed the naked, or visited the sick or imprisoned , they acted in kindness toward JESUS HIMSELF, because Jesus has walked in their shoes.” These are the sheep.
On the other hand are they are goats “who failed to see the needs of the disadvantaged and have acted as though they have never seen Jesus, have not followed in his footsteps and not done the work the Master calls them to do,” says Professor Works.
Pickens County has many flocks of sheep in churches, nonprofits, government and communities. We have responded to health issues through Good Sam, children and teens through Hope Hose and ACES and established a Thrift Store that through donations has given $6.5 million to help meet the needs of the disadvantaged! It is time that Pickens County comprehensively has a plan to came for the homeless!
JESUS is homeless in Pickens County … what will YOU do?