The Homeless and the Bible

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There has been a lot of news lately about the homelessness crisis in San Francisco.

Here are a few statistics about this crisis:

The most recent homelessness survey for San Francisco happened in January 2019, according to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. The survey found that :

  1. There was a 17 percent increase since 2017 of people experiencing homelessness in the city, that is 8,035 people;
  2. The total number of unsheltered individuals was 5,180. Of the 2,855 people in shelters, 84 percent of them were in emergency shelter programs.
  3. The same agency found there to be a 15 percent overall increase in homelessness within the city, from 2013 to 2019.
  4. Persons with families that included minor children made up 8 percent of homeless residents. Five percent of the total population was under the age of 18.
  5. Young adults, 18-24, accounted for 14 percent of the total, while 81 percent were over the age of 25.

What does the Bible say about the homeless

I am sharing an excerpt of this article to show that heroes of our faith were homeless at one point in their life

Jesus

Jesus spent the better part of three years depending on the charity of others (Matthew 8:20Luke 8:1-2, and Luke 9:58).

In turn, He and His disciples preached the Gospel to the poor (Matthew 5:3Matthew 11:5Luke 4:18Luke 6:20Luke 7:22, and John 12:5) and gave generously to the destitute and needy (Matthew 26:9Mark 14:5, and John 13:29).

What’s more, Jesus didn’t just ‘say’ the words of the Gospel: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV). He gave willingly.

So, it’s no wonder that Jesus promised eternal blessings for those who care for the homeless and destitute (Matthew 19:21Matthew 25:31-40Mark 10:21Luke 11:41Luke 12:33Luke 14:13Luke 18:22, and Luke 19:8).

Jesus also warned about eternal losses for those who spurn the needs of the poor (Matthew 25:41-46; see also Proverbs 19:17 and Proverbs 28:27). Later, Jesus’ half-brother, James, echoed a similar stern warning (James 2:1-9).

Paul

Paul experienced homelessness for many years while serving as an apostle (1 Corinthians 4:11).

There is no indication in Acts or his letters that Paul owned a house in Tarsus, Jerusalem, Antioch, or any other city for that matter. Like Jesus, Paul didn’t see the lack of assets, possessions, and wealth as a problem. Instead, he was passionate about giving financial aid to the truly poor and needy (Acts 24:17Romans 15:262 Corinthians 9:1-15, and Galatians 2:10).

David

King David was homeless for years while on the run from King Saul.

David lamented repeatedly, “I am poor and needy” (Psalm 40:17Psalm 70:5Psalm 86:1, and Psalm 109:22).  Yet, in every psalm David penned during those trying times, he reaffirmed his faith in the Lord his God. What’s more, David penned many of the verses listed in points #6-#10 below.

Moses

Moses was homeless after fleeing Egypt.

Forty years later, Moses cried out in prayer on behalf of God’s people (Psalm 90:13-16). There in the desert, God called Moses (Exodus 3:1-6) and told him to return to Egypt (Exodus 3:7-10).

There God used Moses to bring about a great deliverance of God’s people from their oppressors (Psalm 77:16-20Psalm 78:12-14Psalm 78:42-53Psalm 105:26-39, and Psalm 106:8-12).

Thanks to David Sanford for the article.