Written by Suzanne Benner

Take action: How to help the homeless

“Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening He went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear Him at the temple.” (Luke 21:37-38)

Have you ever contemplated the homelessness of Jesus?

“Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’” (Matthew 8:20)

This is more than just a metaphorical picture. Jesus didn’t have a home. The Bible doesn’t mention Him owning anything. In the midst of recording Jesus’ teaching, Luke casually mentions that Jesus spent each night on the Mount of Olives, the hill outside Jerusalem.

Though the gospel writers give little attention to this fact, we dare not romanticize it. Surely Jesus did experience beautiful evenings in the olive grove, away from the crowds, with the stars shining overhead. But other nights it rained or even snowed. Sometimes cold winds blew. Jesus endured hard ground, darkness and loneliness.

How does Jesus’ homelessness impact us? Though not a command that we must follow, it does require us to pause and think. Too often the desire for comfort drives me. Luxury and convenience become needs rather than wants. Material possessions clutter my focus and prevent me from seeking God. I stress about many things. Jesus owned nothing, yet He didn’t worry about His next meal. He trusted God for everything He needed.

I also need to consider my attitudes toward others. Though Jesus likely trained as a carpenter, during the three years of His ministry He didn’t work to provide for Himself or for His mother. Did people look at Him and say, “Get a job”? Jesus can help me see differently, because He knows what it’s like to be homeless.

Holy God, open my eyes to what you want to teach me through these verses. I want to trust You and not worry, to seek You instead of my own comfort, to see every person through Your eyes. Amen

Questions: Does knowing Jesus was homeless change your perspective toward the homeless in your city? What is God nudging you to change as you consider Jesus’ homelessness?

11 Responses to “Homeless”

  • M. Jantzen says:

    Hi Shawn, that’s really cool that you found the article to so closely connect to the people you are ministering to. You seem very outreach oriented. You would probably find the material at http://www.thelife.com really encouraging. Take care!

  • Shawn says:

    I read this article while preparing a devotional to deliver to a group of homeless men and women that my small group is going to feed this weekend.Of all the times I have read the bible and (thought) I knew scripture, I never once viewed Jesus as a homeless. It is amazing how humbling this short devotional was been for me. Thank you.

  • Carrie says:

    I received this devotional right after I found out that my church is participating in Hope for the Hopeless, an event where a group gets together and goes out to the homeless people in town to bring them a meal. It really made me think about reality of what it is like to be homeless. We are called as servants of Christ to go out and love our neighbors. I now see this as an opportunity to do just that.

  • Jenny Wari says:

    I believe in His Words. what I have or don’t have I bear with it as all things come through him. It is true, that we people are created in His image and have to accept in our day to day life of difficulties like financial or home. When I read Gods Word and His words are talking to me and reminding me every day. His words are strengthening, encouraging and I lean on him because His Love is more than we having grudges everyday of what to eat, wear, etc. I thank God that through His Son, Jesus saved us. Amen.

  • Francine says:

    Reading this devotional opens my eyes to the fact that wow Jesus was homeless… It makes so much sense to me now because everytime I see a homeless person or because of my job talk to a homeless person I’ve always thought to myself there has to be something special about homeless people because they don’t need luxury or want material things, and to that comes an honorable quality… To me it’s sacrifice.. Maybe homeless people don’t see it this way and I could never want to be homeless but it’s long suffering… And I beleive Jesus sees the homeless more than the rich person…

  • Rose says says:

    He is reminding us of what He promised in His Word, that there will always be opportunities for believers to meet the needs of others. As we meet those needs, we represent Him by showing His Love, His compassion , and our obedience to His Word. He gave His children power of attorney to be His ambassadors here on earth. We are blessed to be a blessing. Thank God for His son.

  • Suzanne Benner Suzanne Benner says:

    Hi Brooklynne,

    God doesn’t command us to be homeless, but He does command us to care for the poor (James 1:27, Deuteronomy 15:4, Zechariah 7:9-10, Matthew 25:35-36). We all need to be willing to share, since there will always be someone who has less than us.

  • Suzanne Benner Suzanne Benner says:

    Dear BC,

    Thank you for your insightful comments. I agree that Jesus probably wasn’t totally homeless, as many followers opened their homes to Him (for example: Mary, Martha & Lazarus). When you said “some people close their eyes as they walk on by” I think you get to the heart of the issue. We need to really see those who are hurting.

    God, may we all, like BC, ask You to open the eyes of our hearts. Help us to see each person we meet on the street as Your precious child. Amen.

  • Carolyn B. says:

    I never really thought of Jesus as being homeless or having no material values
    I suppose all the stressing I let myself do over our bills is all for naught. If Jesus
    died for my sins and I can come to the father through him to pray, then God will
    take care of my needs just like he did his own Son!!! I am so glad we have such
    a loving and forgiving God. :)

  • BC says:

    Dear Suzanne,

    I am not fully convinced that Jesus was totaly homeless. In Mark 2:1-2 we read, “A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.”

    What touches my heart is when Jesus was born we read, “there was no room for them in the inn.” And in the forementioned verse we read a simalar situation, “there was no room left” for all who wanted to visit, see and hear Him.

    Our beloved Lord was a travelor. Many opened their homes to Him and were blessed. I was once homeless for a duration of time and a Christian woman opened her home to me during that rough transition. This season of homelessness opened my eyes and heart to a hurting world that I would never had learned unless I experienced such. For this reason I extend God’s love to the homeless in my community where others would rather close their eyes as they walk on by.

    Many say, “I don’t want to give them money because they will just spend it on drugs, alcohal or whatever…I suggest that if they realy want to reach out and help the homeless to have on hand gift certificates for food from a local establishment. Or have readly available in their cars a clean pair of socks and tshirt to hand out along with a note that God loves them.

    God, I pary that you would open the eyes of my heart as I seek to aid others as you would have me. Amen

  • Nilda Cortes says:

    I believe he is trying to teach us exactly what you said that spreading the word of God and serving him with all our hearts should always comes before any comfort, luxury, etc. Some people get focused on material things and they forget to thank God for what they have. As far as the homeless, some made it their choice, others did not so we need to pray and be conscientious of them.

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