Don't get me wrong, some homeless people are not very nice at all, but then again neither are some very wealthy people I know. I'm not sure why I care for the marginalised in society. Maybe it's got something to do with my dad - he's always helping people.
All I know is there is a lot in the Bible about helping the poor so I guess I'm on the right track. But what about those of us who call ourselves Christians, who are afraid of homeless people? What about the ones of us who, no matter how hard we try to make themselves care, still struggle to find empathy?
I have a friend like this. He's one of the most logical and unemotional people I know, and he's a terrific person. He has amazing insight into situations and an ability to speak truth in a way that escapes many others. However for years, he's struggled with the idea of what it is to be a 'Christian' because it seems at odds with everything about him.
It just doesn't seem to fit - the way he thinks, the way he feels, the way he engages with people. He describes himself as a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.
And the sad reality is he's right. Some people naturally fit the prescribed mould better than others. For some, being a Christian comes easily simply because of the way they are wired. For instance, those who are outgoing and confident will have a far easier job sharing Jesus with strangers than the quieter, more introverted folks in our midst.
Likewise, those of us who are naturally driven by emotions are far more likely to feel empathy than those who are inherently logical and analytical.
I'm not sure if you're someone like this, or maybe you know someone who is. As much as they try to change to become less rigid or more caring all that is left is guilt, because they can't be something they feel they should.
I sometimes wonder how Martha must have felt when Jesus came to visit and called her out for being such a busy body. While, her sister Mary was happy to drop everything and hang on Jesus' every word, it seemed Martha was naturally the type of person who always busy.
But I wonder if she could really have helped that. I know plenty of women who constantly juggle dozens of tasks, while trying to plough through a never-ending mental checklist. I've even heard someone put a name on it- Rushing Woman Syndrome, they call it.
And sure in Martha's case, there's a lot to be said for prioritising. If the Son of God walks into your home, you'd probably want to clear your schedule. But for some that sort of flexibility doesn't come naturally. For some having their routine interrupted hits like an atom bomb, while for others it's simply a welcome change.
My friend was telling me he often sits through sermons on evangelism or helping the poor, and thinks, "I could never do that, it's just not me."
Which begs the question, where should we focus our effort? Sure with enough will power, anyone can do anything but it doesn't mean we will be any good at it. Of course my friend could sign up at the local soup kitchen and try his best to care about the homeless guy whose sleeping bag got stolen. But I don't think he would be doing himself or anyone else any favours.
And that's because he wouldn't be being true to himself. It'd mean ignoring what he already has- an amazingly perceptive mind, an incredible ability to organise and plan. With so much focus these days on the kind of person we should be, there's little time to consider who we actually are and how God put us together. It's often a detail that's skipped over in the pursuit a handful of sort-after qualities that weren't there from the start.
Love, peace, patience, gentlenessâ¦ the list goes on. But these aren't traits for Christians to work towards and perfect. They're a sign that something bigger is at work- the Holy Spirit establishing something new. Something beautiful. They're qualities that originate from a living God rather than a concerted effort on our part to act a certain way.
Many members, one body
It's true Jesus talked a lot about helping the poor and spreading the gospel. He even told his disciples they should all become missionaries and make disciples.
It was the Apostle Paul who spoke of service such as administration and the Epistles who emphasised building strong families. Administration and family life are very important in the kingdom of God. These things matter.
Paul talks about the body of Christ being made up of incredible diversity, and it seemed something the church in Corinth really needed to hear. Because the world doesn't need a bunch of Christian clones all trying their best of be loving and caring. It needs confident people who know who they are and what they have to offer in all different spheres of influence. We're all unique and that's for a reason. We all have a role to play, not just those of us who naturally want to buy hot pies for homeless people.
Struan Purdie is a 24-year-old kiwi lad who loves to make his own fun and is always up for an outdoors adventure. He is currently studying broadcast journalism in Denmark with his wife Brittney.
Struan Purdie's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/struan-purdie.html