Reflections from a Homeless Man’s Funeral

Reposted, with permission, from Randy White Ministries.

This week I officiated a funeral for a homeless man. It was a sociologists dream. Every “misfit” you could imagine was in the small crowd. Several of the men I had met previously just because I’m the pastor of the church on the “main drag,” so I was somewhat familiar with a few of them. Others I had never seen.

It was a very “free flowing” service, to say the least. Since homeless people like to talk, and since I didn’t know the man, I let people share (dangerous in most circumstances, but since nobody but the homeless was present, I thought, “what is there to lose!”)

What I found is that the men who spoke were actually quite well-spoken.

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Why Children Should Volunteer

The first thing I want to say about volunteerism and “giving back” is that I don’t believe in such things as an “unfair advantage” or “luck.” If you as parents work hard to feed, clothe, and shelter your children; you love and nurture them, pushing them to be responsible, caring members of society; you spend time, energy and money to ensure they have a solid education so they can succeed in life—then you are a normal family.

What isn’t and shouldn’t be accepted as normal is neglectful, violent, or substance-abusing parents. Children aren’t “lucky” because their parents don’t beat them or there’s actually nutritious food in the fridge. This attitude makes neglect and abuse the norm, and it implies that inhabiting a loving home is some kind of magical “only if you are fortunate” thing.

We understand that all good things come from God, but many good things are a natural consequence of prudent behavior—sowing and reaping works just as well for the unregenerate as for those who are redeemed. The eternal reaping comes later, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

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