I volunteer several times a week in a homeless shelter our church supports, but I get very discouraged because it doesn't seem like we're making any progress. We just keep seeing the same people over and over. I'm about to give up. Why should we bother?


I commend you and your church for your efforts, and I hope you won’t give up. This past Christmas someone reminded me that Jesus knew what it was to be homeless, because He and His parents had to flee to Egypt when King Herod tried to kill Him (see Matthew 2:13-15).

Why should you bother, when it doesn’t seem like you’re making any progress? For one thing, ask yourself what would happen if this shelter closed. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is homeless; where would you go? In all likelihood, some people in your town are alive today because they’ve received food and shelter through this facility.

Take heart also from the small victories (some of which you may not even realize). Yes, perhaps you do see some people over and over again – but what about those you don’t see, because they’ve been able to get jobs or overcome their addictions or get help in other ways through this ministry? Don’t just focus on the negative side; look at the positive side also.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Ask God to help you see this as an opportunity to serve Him, as you serve others. And ask Him also to make you a witness to Christ’s transforming power and love.