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Pencil Shavings

Serving the least of these in 2022

Dawn Hankins
Posted 6/25/22

Bedford County, like many other surrounding areas, has a homeless issue. Is it larger than others?  

Regardless, it is still something that has to be dealt with in a proper manner. Given …

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Pencil Shavings

Serving the least of these in 2022


Bedford County, like many other surrounding areas, has a homeless issue. Is it larger than others?  

Regardless, it is still something that has to be dealt with in a proper manner. Given the current economic status of the United States, it likely won’t improve without some real intervention on our part.  

“These people can do better with their lives.” That’s what I’m hearing a lot these days.  

But then again, can’t we all? Remember: They’re still humans. So they feel like everyone else.  

Yes, perhaps drugs and alcohol have numbed them a bit. I admit that’s true in many cases. But they still need help.  

To turn a deaf ear, well, that doesn’t seem like the best solution for change, anytime. Some are just simply having a hard time finding housing, because they can’t afford it.  

Could many others be in this situation in the near future?  

Having worked in ministry for several years, I know there are those who can do better in life. But, as my Granny use to say, “Walk a mile in their shoes.” We need to listen more.  

Once down and out, it’s hard to sometimes get back up in the current society in which we live. Pointing people to a loving and caring Jesus was a part of my Christian ministry work. So I get it. It still is part of my life’s calling.  

I learned a long time ago to leave the what-fors (what they’ve done to become homeless) to Him.  

Are the homeless hard to deal with? You bet. People who run nonprofits to help “the least of these” are generally worn out and exhausted. I’ve been there. The folks pushing to get them help often get a bad rap as a nuisance in a community. People run when they see them coming.  

But I think we, as a community at large, need to ask ourselves, especially if we’re Christians, if we have a compassionate heart for the least of these. Isn’t that what Jesus commanded? He didn’t sift out this one from that one.  

All people were loved within His ministry, even those with sores and dysentery. What saddens me is that we have a lot of homeless veterans across the country. They need someone to listen to their stories. The Bible also says that we’ll always have poor people.  

In one way, it’s how we can humble ourselves—by those who have more blessings helping those who have less. The people who volunteer for the soup kitchens and food distributions will tell you that it is certainly a life-changing experience.  

We’ve been covering the homeless sleeping at the old Rite Aid. Why wouldn’t they as long as that building has sat vacant?  

I recently talked with Brenda Knight of Open Hands Shelter. She’s fully aware of how some people like her for what she does and others do not, for whatever reasons. But after talking to her, I still think she’s far ahead of many of us, simply for what she’s trying to do for “the least of these.”  

She is bothered, she said, at the lack of commitment to her shelter from churches.  

There are reasons, I’m sure, to which I’m not privileged. But bottom line is, she’s helping more people get back on their feet and keep their jobs than some folks. Many just judge. (You must work to stay at the shelter.)  

Everyone can help the homeless. Either support thrift stores or give to a soup kitchen. There’s no need to have direct contact, if you feel awkward with that ministry. You can help right from your home by making a donation to a non profit or simply deliver some water this summer to the Shelbyville Community Soup Kitchen. Just search the ways of service that are best for you.  

God will take care of the rest. I was taught a long time ago in ministry that working with “the least of these” is not for everyone and certainly not the “faint of heart.” I get that.  

There are a lot of hardworking people who take offense to those who “eat,” yet and do not “work.” I understand that life principle as well. But compassion develops a far greater reasoning, I believe, for helping those in need.  

As well, our obedience is far greater than our sacrifice. (See I Samuel 15:22.) Yes, there are things we can do as a community to help lessen the burden. Thanks to those who are getting food, water and clothes to some desperate folks. No doubt there will be a star in your crown.  

Thanks to the Shelbyville Police Department and Bedford County Sheriff’s Department employees as they’re the ones that often have to try to find placement for the homeless. Or worse, have to take them into custody.  

We, as a community, live in a different vein of existence. Our job is to help by nourishing them physically and spiritually. If you’re a Christian, our command is to provide them with the Word of God. Here is one statement, uploaded as a comment to the local homeless situation, that I hope isn’t contagious.  

A local woman stated, “Remember that they are given free phones which allows them to contact their “friends.” She added, “These people do have a network.”  

“These people?” Again, I prefer to call them God’s people. I don’t have all the answers, that is certainly clear. But what are we, as a community, state, nation, going to do to help “the least of these?”