Luke 16:20 has a message for us

angelMy experience with panhandlers on median strips is consistent. Well, I am selective about them. That is probably a display of hypocrisy and fear on my part. Those I share with always offer me a “God bless” and a thank you.

My most recent encounter resulted in my inviting the lady to lunch. She was very charming and optimistic in spite of her depleted circumstances. I wrote about the encounter in this blog.

There has been some discussion about using the law to deal with people asking for handouts, to send them into hiding. I mostly see them on the median strips of busy streets. Some citizens want these people to be scolded with the authority of law.

“It is a hazardous situation in that drivers are worried about hitting somebody because people are stepping off the median to get money or food,” said neighbor Nicole Brule-Fisher.—KVOA

If you are homeless in Tucson you are considered offensive, apparently by the majority of citizens. Homeless people, they conclude, are clearly doing something wrong and are shunning responsibility. They are refusing the jobs that await them. They also, some say, might want to use your money to buy drugs. The lady I had lunch with wants to buy a chocolate cake to celebrate her son’s birthday.

I have a master’s degree from a respected university, some modest talents, and an email address. Currying favor with employers is not all that easy. I speak from experience.

Alan Kaye said he attended Thursday night’s meeting because he said he’s fed up with the homeless making a mess of his community, specifically the intersection of Ina and La Cholla.—Tucson News Now

She gave me some sob story about running out of gas on the way to her home in the east valley from visiting a sick relative in California. Said “I just need $5-$10 to get gas to make it home”. I only had a $20 and a $10 and gave her the $10.—City Data

Tucson citizens are a wild mix. We have the “snow birds” who come here to escape Minnesota winters. We have some employees and retirees of big companies like Raytheon. We have a huge number of people living in shacks cooled through our hot summers with window air conditioners. Which of these people are most inclined to offer mercy?

We don’t know.

As of 2015, there were about 565,000 homeless people living in the United States on any given night. It’s estimated that women comprise a little under 40% of that population. But that number may shift. Women and families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, with 85% of homeless families headed by single women.Mashable

The number of homeless people, by coincidence, is more or less equal to the population of Tucson.

I am not a big Bible advocate, but I will refer readers to the passage in Luke 16:20 about the rich man who scorned Lazarus, a beggar. The rich man ends up in Hell and asks an angel to warn his five brothers of the price of greed and arrogance. The angel replies, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, through one rose from the dead.”


2 thoughts on “Luke 16:20 has a message for us

  1. Homelessness is also a big problem in Portland, although why a homeless person would choose to live this far north i don’t know. I don’t think it’s fair however, to use the words homeless and panhandler as if they were interchangeable. I know some panhandlers have a home, but they have chosen panhandling as a career, as least temporarily. My guess is, but I don’t know the statistics, that most homeless people don’t panhandle. They go to shelters or live in tent cities. For the most part, people who are homeless for some horrific reason, and are trying to turn their lives around, especially families, will receive assistance.

    I had a conversation a few weeks ago with a homeless man who had not applied for social security, even though he said he had worked in Seattle for 40 years (but came to Portland to be homeless) and was old enough and we had this conversation a 5 minute walk from a social security office. He did not seem crazy or stupid. He was a good conversationalist and seemed educated. He did seem unhappy. I don’t think the money I gave him is going to change that for very long and I don’t think he’s entitled to money that I’m working 60+ hour weeks at age 69 to get. I just happened to like him.

    If there is a hell, Reagan should be dwelling there now for closing the mental hospitals and turning people who needed help out onto the streets. Unfortunately, we live in a society that cares mostly about the bottom line and where tolerance is no longer fashionable. If we can buy things cheaply, should we care that they’re made by child slaves in third world countries? Quentin Tarantino said the Chinese crews were great, they loved their jobs so much that they lived at the studio. Hello….slave labor! Whatever it takes to put the money in Quentin’s pocket.

    Other than that, how are you doing, Cuz?

  2. Thank you, cousin, for the thoughtful comments. You are very generous with your insights and experience. I am grateful, and hopefully readers will be also. The lady I invited to lunch told me she lives in a tent. She seemed quite coherent. Her supposed boyfriend recently roughed her up.
    This business of being 68 takes some getting used to. Scheduled for cataract surgery next week. Lots of co-pays for the meds and the doctors. But our house has not washed away like so many have, so we count our blessings.

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