By Bill Nixon, Director of Support Services
Almost no one thinks of Jesus and homelessness as being connected. Yet we read in Luke 9:58: “Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’” The very least we come to understand from that statement is that Jesus identifies himself with the homeless, and very likely endured seasons of his life where he literally had no home.
Other passages in Luke mention that Jesus spent each night on the Mount of Olives, the hill outside Jerusalem. The implication is that he was living out of doors…or what we at The Mustard Seed would call rough sleeping. A little online research about the climate around Jerusalem would help us to understand that just like the folks we care for at The Mustard Seed, there were some nice nights out there under the stars, but other nights it likely rained or just got cold.
So what’s the point? At The Mustard Seed, we love that Jesus relates to the folks we care for. There are many of our guests who come to understand this, and it is a great comfort to them. That He doesn’t just get it in an clean intellectual sense, but in the much more personal sense of He’s been there.
Stuff won’t make us happy
We continue to live in a world that connects success with stuff, yet Jesus had no stuff that we are aware of and I challenge you to point to anyone who lives a more successful life on this earth. In fact in Mark 6:8-9 when Jesus sends out the 12 to do their first real missions work, he basically tells them not to take anything you don’t need. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
The great secret to ministry is not the stuff we bring, but that our stuff is not worth much short of God, and that we simply have to trust God for everything. A lesson that the disciples themselves struggled in learning because of hardened hearts (Mark 6:52).
Jesus knew what he was here for
John 4:34 reads: “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” That’s in a much less significant way true of each of us, but we are also on this earth for one single purpose, to: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” – Luke 10:27
Jesus understands his homeless neighbours. What an amazing encouragement for us to do likewise.