5 Steps to Interacting with the Homeless
February 16, 2010
In previous posts, we have shared some stories of our own interactions with the homeless, we have asked some tough questions, and we have issued various challenges. For this post, I would like to provide you all with a list of five practical ways you can take those stories, questions, and challenges to heart and move toward creating your own interactions with the homeless.
1. Pray: I understand it can be difficult to completely throw yourself into a situation with which you have little previous experience and virtually no level of comfort. Thus, the first and easiest step to interacting with the homeless is to pray. Ask for the Lord’s protection and provisions over these people, while also asking Him to prepare your heart for future interactions.
2. Donate: We’ve talked a lot about sacrificing a bit of the comfort we have in our lives to give to this realm of unloved people. A great way to do that is to locate an existing organization or shelter and donate money, food, or extra clothing. As St. Augustine said, evaluate what you have and take from it only what you need. The rest belongs to the poor.
3. Volunteer: In addition to sacrificing money and material possessions, sacrificing your time can bring tremendous transformation. Many of the same shelters and organizations you can donate to also have volunteer opportunities (see previous posts for links to said organizations).
4. Give: Make it more personal. Once you have prayed, donated through an organization, and volunteered, try giving directly to a homeless person. Personally hand them food, money, or clothing. This human interaction presents a whole new level of giving.
5. Spend time: Approach a homeless person and engage in conversation. Sacrifice from your busy schedule and make time for them. Spend an hour sitting where they sit, ask about their lives, tell them about yours. Tell them your name. Look straight in to their eyes. An hour-long interaction can likely show more love than any sum of money you could hand through your car window.
Hopefully these steps will help get you started in creating your own interactions with the homeless in your city, God’s beautiful children. I encourage you to be prayerful throughout this journey. Ask the Lord to prepare you for some divine encounters!
Until next time, love.