The weather in North Central Texas is brutally cold this week. Not to Canada standards but certainly to ours. Highs in the 20s and lows under 10 degrees is no where near the norm. It’s brought us to a near standstill. The grocery stores were packed yesterday like it was the day after Thanksgiving at Walmart. Most of us grabbed bread, milk, eggs and such so we could stay comfortably warm in our homes.
We opened Serenity several days ago when the temperature dropped below freezing with the threat of freezing rain, sleet, and snow in the forecast. We opened for our homeless brothers to have shelter and food. How can we say Christ in us would only pray for these friends and not provide shelter? Which is greater: to talk about Love or to practice Real Love (1 John 3:18-19), Love that has no agenda (1 Corinthians 13:4), Love that has no qualifications (1 Corinthians 13:5-7), Love that has no boundaries (Ephesians 3:14-20).
One of brothers that is sheltered at Serenity walks and drinks his beers on our streets. To make a little bit of money he collects beer and soda cans and sells them at the scrap yard to buy his beer. That’s his “job”. He makes enough to buy 6-8 beers and “sinks them”. We’ve fallen in love with him.
We see him not just with our fleshly eyes but with our spiritual eyes. We see his worth. We see his value. The same Death that brought our Redemption brought it for him as well. How much Faith does God require? Mustard seed size. Our friend has that. We embrace him. If my blood brother was homeless and alone on the street living just to drink, would I give him shelter if I could? Of course I would. This man is my brother. Shelter is available. So we open our door for him.
Another of those staying in our place normally sleeps at an open car wash. He makes money by offering to wash and clean (detail) people’s cars that come there. I saw him one morning sleeping under the shelter next to the large vacuum cleaners at the wash. Someone had just donated a pair of New Balance sneakers and I just happened to have them with me and they just happened to be his size. I gave them to him. That was the start of his and my discovery of kinship with each other. This man is my brother. Shelter is available. So we open the door for him.
The weather will get back to normal maybe by Friday and our brothers will be back on the street. We’ll still see them. They’ll still come by. Life will get back to normal. I’ll pull the cover up over me in my comfortable bed in my warm house. My brothers will sleep at the car wash, in abandoned cars or houses, in the bushes or next to a sheltering dumpster. But for a week and a half the blows of poverty and neglect are softened by the Good News that is Preached to the poor (Matthew 11:5).