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All Christians are Homeless Christians

all-christians-are-homeless-christians


The Bible is a story about homelessness. 

Of course, it’s not only about homelessness, but even a cursory glance at some of its main characters highlights the point:

  • Abraham: He left his home, became homeless, and his children followed suit. His grandson was called a “wandering Aramean.” (Deut. 26:5)
  • Moses: He fled the palace in Egypt after murdering an Egyptian and lived without a home as a fugitive.
  • Israel: They fled slavery in Egypt and spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness.
  • Ruth and Naomi: They moved to Bethlehem after their husbands died, where they spent an unknown period of time homeless.
  • David: He fled King Saul after Saul sought to assassinate him and spent years hiding in caves, homeless.
  • Jesus: His parents fled Judah after Herod sought to kill Jesus. They didn’t return to their home in Nazareth for 9 years.
  • Paul: He was an itinerant preacher without a home who had to rely on friends for lodging. 

During Jesus’s ministry, a teacher found him and said he would follow Jesus anywhere. But Jesus didn’t say yes. Instead, he said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)

It’s a strange response if you don’t have the larger biblical context. Even though many American Christians have never experienced homelessness, Jesus seemed to want us to wrestle with the fact that, historically, following him has often led to exactly that.

And of course, there’s the inverse point: if the Bible is a story that shows that God is with the homeless, and that many times homelessness is caused by factors out of our control, then don’t we have a responsibility to be with those who have been evicted from their homes? 

Don’t we have a responsibility to love parents sleeping in their corollas with their kids?

Don’t we have a responsibility to love single moms moving from couch to couch every few days just so their children have a roof over their heads?

Don’t we have a responsibility to help unhoused people develop the skills they need to get work, pay off debt, and learn how to sustain themselves?

I think the answer is yes, precisely because that’s what God does. He makes a home for the homeless.

Making a Home

The Bible is a story about homecoming.

Of course, it’s not only about homecoming, but even a cursory glance at some of the main characters in the Bible highlights the point:

  • Abraham: God promised to transform the land of Canaan into a home for Abraham’s descendants.
  • Moses: God promised to make a home with Moses in a tent at the center of his camp.
  • Israel: After God rescued them from slavery, he promised to plant them in a new land and give them homes, which he later did.
  • Ruth and Naomi: God providentially called Boaz to be their kinsman redeemer and gave them a home.
  • David: When David told God he wanted to build him a house, God rejected the offer, instead, saying that he would build an everlasting house for David.
  • Jesus: After his resurrection, he ascended to heaven to be at home with God.
  • Paul: He wrote to churches in Corinth and Philippi that he wasn’t ashamed of his situation because he knew that, once he finished his race, he would be at home with God. 

But what about Jesus’s warnings that following him might mean becoming homeless?

He later told his disciples that homelessness wasn’t the end of the story:

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3)

The reason the Bible talks so much about homelessness is because homelessness is not the way it’s supposed to be. God wants us to be at home because he designed us to be at home. Homelessness is a picture of what happens when we rebel against him—after all, the first eviction was God’s doing. He sent Adam and Eve out of Eden.

That’s not to say that all or even most evictions are the result of human sin. That’s a different conversation.

But it is to say that one reason we, as followers of God, extend our love, wealth, time and support to the homeless is because we know (better than most!) that we are the same. Because we know that, if we follow Jesus, we too might be in the same circumstance. Because we know that God keeps company with the homeless and plans to make a home for us all in eternity.

So, whether you’ve never been homeless, were previously homeless, or are currently homeless, you should realize that one way we proclaim the gospel in action is by emulating God and helping others find homes in this age.

That’s why I hope you’ll join our Easter giving campaign this year, as we partner with Love Columbia to buy homes in Columbia that will provide long term support to families who are experiencing eviction.

These families will receive coaching and support to pay off debt, establish work with livable wages, and find new permanent housing.

It’s a tangible way, we can retell our own story: “I once was lost, but now am found.”

I once was far from God’s home, without a place to dwell with him. Now I am invited in his home. Now I am near to his presence. 

Jesus’s death and resurrection turned our eviction from heaven upside down. Let’s do the same for others today. 

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