On Tuesday, September 18, 7 teenagers joined myself and a co-worker on a trip to the local Rescue Mission in Roanoke, Virginia. That evening between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm we served 350 people. Since we began serving in January of this year this number surpassed our record of 324 in January. On this particular night we saw a noticeable increase in the number of families and the size of each family. Parents came to ensure they and their children had a meal to eat and a roof over their head to sleep under. We also served people under the age of 30, middle aged men and senior citizens(those who would qualify for Social Security). And as always it included veterans. I don't know their personal stories but I do know the feeling of not being able to put food on the table. During 2011 there was a period of time where I did not have enough money to buy groceries after rent, prescriptions and utilities were paid for. I can tell you from personal experience that food, housing and health care are not an entitlement in life but a necessity FOR life. We all need food to sustain our bodies so it will work to keep us breathing, we need a roof over our heads so that we can reasonably live a long life and yes, we do need health care so when we have the unexpected cold or illness or have to mange a chronic illness the money is there to pay for it.
My life has changed dramatically since 2011, from struggling to put food on the table to now having a job that actually affords me to have money at the end of the month. Because the lord has blessed me I want and should bless those who are in need. In Matthew chapter 25 we read of the passage about a King (the Son of man) who says to the people,
"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
As Christians we are called to serve the least of these. To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the imprisoned, we are actually serving our Lord. This seems like a simple and a reasonable thing to do in light of the cross.
I invite all to step outside your homes and your churches and volunteer at your local Rescue Mission, food bank or soup kitchen. For when you do, you will look into the eyes of your brother and sister and acknowledge their humanity. I believe we can use a lot for of this than we can of the marginalization we are currently creating in America.