Jesus knew what it was to be a homeless man. He spent the better part of three years depending on the charity of others. During His public ministry, Jesus did a lot of walking! Taking accounts from Scripture we can map out some of His destinations. From the home of Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, He walked to Jerusalem (2-5 day journey), Sychar, Bethsaida, Judea, Capernaum, and Tyre. Other locations are known but the idea is that He moved from place to place not having His own home to rest. He had limited possessions and relied on the kindness of others for food and shelter.
“And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’” Matthew 8:20 (NKJV)
David was homeless for years while on the run from King Saul. Paul experienced homelessness for many years while serving as an apostle. Ruth and Naomi were homeless until Boaz married Ruth. Moses and the Israelites were homeless for 40 years while wandering the wilderness of Shur (Arabian desert).
“To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.” 1 Corinthians 4:11 (NKJV)
“The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land He had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Joshua 5:6 (NIV)
Abraham left the comfort of Ur in Mesopotamia and journey to an undesignated land (Canaan). It appears that Abraham was wealthy, possessing many fine treasures and comforts found in a highly advanced center of civilization. To leave all of this in order to journey to Canaan would have meant a huge sacrifice of material comfort. He lived in a tent in Canaan, not in a house, and he lived in rugged fields, dry deserts, and mountains, away from the conveniences of civilization. By obeying God and moving away from the comforts and wealth he was accustomed to, Abraham received an incredible blessing. He became the father of many nations.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 (NKJV)
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)
There is wisdom to be gained from experiencing homelessness. There are lessons only homelessness can teach. There is a comradery with Christ that we can glean from experiencing homelessness. To share in the sufferings of Christ is an honor.
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)
Homelessness reminds us to put possessions and wealth into perspective. When we don’t have a place to put our belongings, we lose interest in gaining more of them. Although we may pine away for the comfort of having a home, we can choose to grow from a daily reliance on God’s provision to meet our every need. Homelessness gives others the opportunity to show love and charity. Without the responsibility of homelife we can focus totally on the will of God and share the Good News. We are more apt to move when the Spirit tells us to move when we are homeless.
Homelessness teaches the proud humility. It reminds us that God should be our first love, not comfort or objects. Homelessness is not always permanent. We may have to wait for a new home, but we can rest in knowing God’s timing is perfect. Learning to be content in all circumstances is valuable. Our shelter may be a prison cell, a car, a friend’s couch, or even a tent. Contentment can be found in these places. May we all have a better mindset and appreciation of home, home life, the homeless, and the provisions of God.
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)
“Because for every matter there is a time and judgment, though the misery of man increases greatly.” Ecclesiastes 8:3 (NKJV)