Our church is involved in a community ministry to homeless people, but it's discouraging because you see the same people all the time and we don't seem to be doing any good. Shouldn't we use our limited resources to actually accomplish something?
Let me ask you a question: If this ministry didn’t exist, what would happen to the homeless in your community? The answer is clear: Some probably would die for lack of food or shelter; others might turn to crime to keep from starving. In other words, just because you see the same people all the time isn’t necessarily a sign of failure; if nothing else, you’re helping them stay alive.
Never forget, you aren’t just serving the homeless through this ministry; you’re also serving Christ. He loves them just as much as He loves you, and He wants to use you to demonstrate His love to them. Not everyone you try to help will understand this, and some will take advantage of you. But not everyone whom Jesus helped responded the way they should have, either. On one occasion, Jesus healed 10 lepers, but only one returned to express his thanks (see Luke 17:12-19).
At the same time, perhaps those of you who are involved in this program can do more to help the homeless, beyond simply giving them a meal and a place to sleep. Could more be done, for example, to help them get jobs? Do some need more education?
The greatest gift you can offer them, however, is the gift of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Pray for those you meet, and ask God to help you point them to Jesus. He 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).