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Gospel in Action: Practice on the Homeless

July 23, 2009


Look at him. He is homeless. Look again. Do you see his eyes? Do you see his face? What do you see in him? How you feel towards him?

Let your heart be examined: what’s the first thing you notice? His dirty face? His wild and unkempt hair? His cigarette habit? His beer? His need for new clothes and a shower?

What about the weather on his face? The sign of age and hardness? The gentle look and soft eyes? The spirit of his willingness to keep living?

Often times Christians are very good at reasoning through excuses as to why we don’t evangelize, why we don’t witness, why we don’t try harder to display Christ.

Not to sound inhumane or extremely insensitive, but I say practice on the homeless.

Yeah that’s right, go and find some really poor, destitute, down-and-out people who have nearly nothing but their own clothes, and sit and talk with them. For hours, not like on your lunch break or when you’re at the gas pump throw some change at one of them because they look “scary”.

No, that’s too stinkin’ easy in our westernized, must-be-convenient and “safe” idea of Modern American Christian missions. No, real service and Gospel missions will very often be inconvenient, require much sacrifice, be very unsafe and even dangerous and risky, cause some type of pain (be it physical, emotional, or mental), cause some type of persecution, and possibly end in what seems like absolute and utter failure and a waste of time.

But saint, go! I say “practice on the homeless” is for two reasons:

  1. We’re all homeless, the human heart is homeless. All mankind suffers with the same basic factor that separates them from God: the sin of unbelief,
  2. The homeless are typically the most rejected, misunderstood group in America, apart from aborted babies.


Have you ever really talked to a homeless person? Really? Rather, have you ever really listened to a homeless person? Truly listened. Listening to their needs, their rants, their seeming randomness and possible deception can train you powerfully in missions.

All the homeless need is a preacher to go and listen to their particular avenue of unbelief, meet their needs, and then preach the Gospel in a way that carefully and intimately targets their unbelief at its root. Loving them, serving them, caring for them, taking them in.

The homeless aren’t interested in a tract that says “you’re gonna burn” or something about the prosperity Gospel. They don’t want a big white poster that says “turn or burn”. They don’t care about how bad your day was. They usually don’t want to listen to people too much either, they want to talk.

But what they need to hear is the Gospel that calls them to find their ultimate satisfaction in Jesus Christ. Their bread is the bread of life and their water is the Living water. But Jesus must be preached in such a way as to pierce their hearts of unbelief to meet them where they are. They’ve got to see that Christians truly do care about them and for them. How? Go to them. Find them. Search them out. And then bring them in. Or stay out with them as long as it takes. Be willing to be seen with them, to smell like them, to look like them, to be near them and be associated with them. Put to death your reputation and self-worth to be labeled as a “friend of sinners”.

You remember who received that label right? God did. Jesus Christ was labeled as the friend of sinners. Although the Pharisees meant it as mockery, Jesus embraced it as an unashamed character attribute that greatly displayed His redemptive love for sinners.

Nevermind the fact that most of them are probably homeless because of their own faults, sins, bad choices, habits and addictions. Weren’t you a sinner because you were born that way and chose to love it?

Thank God He was the friend of sinners. Now will you be?


  1. thejourneywithnoend permalink

    Amen! A great place to help is campgrounds!

    Check out this link — i think this brings it home…

    Isaiah 1

    • Good video “thejourneywithnoend”. Shows a good perspective on what people are going through and on the different types of homeless groups. Or rather, what “homeless” really is.

      Reach them for Christ!

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