In the area that we live, there is an organization, “Family Promise.” What they do is take in homeless families and help them get back on their feet. During the day, the families stay at a shelter where they help the parents find jobs and make sure the children get into school. However, in the evenings, the churches in the community provide a place for them to sleep and a meal. When morning comes, they are taken back to the shelter. Imagine having small children and going week-to-week sleeping in a different church – not knowing what you will eat or where you will sleep. Of course, this is much better than being on the streets, but this is not the point I want to make.
In Philippians 2:1-11, from St. Paul states, “…regard others as better than yourselves…look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others…” St. Paul goes on to talk about Jesus and how He emptied himself. In other words, Jesus emptied himself of pride and His equality with God! Jesus became a slave and humbled Himself and became obedient…to the point of death…even death on a cross (v.8). I think what Paul is asking us to do is the hardest thing for us Christians.
In this program, Family Promise, it often seems that the families on the surface do not appreciative the hospitality of the church who is providing a place for them to sleep or the meal they receive. Many who are serving feel intimated and then do not want to serve again. But, I think St. Paul says it all in his letter to the Philippians – Humble yourself…even to the point of death! In other words, put yourself in their shoes! Because I don’t think we can have a clue what they are feeling and are going through if we have never been in homelessness – These moms and dads are in crisis mode! They fear for their children! They are afraid!
Is it not true that we, as humans, tend to put ourselves above others? Because I think we do! Our lives as Christians are to obey God and to serve one another. St. Paul doesn’t say only serve those who are the same color of skin as you; or the same economic status as you; or who goes to the same church as you; or even if they appear to be appreciative! It is quite the opposite – serve others who are different than you. Humble yourself and obey God’s command to love one another…even to the point of death!
Let us pray…Gracious God, we have so much and you have blessed us with so many blessings. We like to take credit for our success and the money we have. Empty us – from our pride, our egos, and thinking they we are above others. Help us and guide into your will to serve. Amen.