Last week Community Church was the host site for the Isabella County Rotating Homeless Shelter. It was a huge success because of our volunteers’ hard work, grace, acceptance and love for our shelter guests. Throughout the week, nearly 70 volunteers transported shelter supplies, made and served food, greeted and socialized with guests, provided overnight security, cleaned up the shelter space and transformed the space back into classrooms for children.
The second floor of KidLife (1st-4th grade classrooms) was used as the shelter. During the week, the shelter housed a maximum of 19 guests in an evening with a total of over 23 different individuals who passed through our doors.
One evening, a guest commented that she thought that we (church volunteers) were treating everyone like kings and queens and that none of them deserved to be treated so well. She couldn’t understand why we would do that and was surprised to witness such grace from “church people”.
Why do we (“church people”) do things like serve people in a homeless shelter? “Church People” who are Christians are to follow Jesus as their example.
Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:35-40).
It can be easy to feel deserving of God’s favor and love when it looks like we have it all together – Bills paid… Clean clothing… Good grades… Smiling children… We work hard! And it can be easy to think that others who don’t have these things must be less deserving of good things.
Jesus offered mercy to people who deserved judgment.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-20.
In other words, he said, “I’ve come to let struggling people, brokenhearted people, people captive to addictions, people stuck in dark spiritual places know that now is the time of God’s favor – God is for you, not against you!”.
Do people perceive that you are for them, not against them? It is God’s kindness that leads people to repentance (Romans 2:4). God has shown us kindness and mercy and we must extend the same to others. He wants to show his mercy and love to a hurting, broken world, through us.
We must treat our brothers and sisters like “kings and queens” because the King of Kings and Lord of Lords loves each and every one of us.
Can we learn to see how Jesus sees?