"Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" Matt. .
Under the Overpass chronicles Mike Yankoski's adventures as a "homeless" person. Following God's specific directive and accompanied by his friend Sam, the pair resided in six cities spread throughout the country in six months.
Throughout their journey Mike and Sam became intimately acquainted with the difficulties of street life: lack of food and water, maintaining decent hygiene, constant exposure to all kinds of weather and the ever present threat of danger. Worst of all was the invisibility. Being ragged and dirty made it easy for people to pretend they didn't exist...including Christians. On more than one occasion Mike and Sam were made to feel unwelcome - even in church.
Despite the hardships, the pair knew their situation was only temporary. They marveled how those they met endured the harsh living conditions, rejection and loneliness for years on end. To the pair's dismay the church, which should have been a beacon of hope, often piled additional guilt and condemnation on the already beaten down men and women.
To prepare for life on the streets both men spent time in separate urban residential rehab centers. Only those in charge knew their real situation but the rest of the staff and residents didn't. In addition to mandatory assigned chores, daily chapel service attendance was required.
"The theme of their message rarely varied - and it always began with bad news...I couldn’t help wondering why the speakers so often focused on the 'hell, fire and damnation' theme and so little on hope, joy, love, peace or really anything positive. Did the speaker assume to be homeless or addicted meant that you're definitely on the road to hell and only scare tactics matter now?
Think about it. If you see someone dangling precariously off a cliff you might warn them about falling to his death but it would make more sense to throw him a rope.
Jesus did thunder warning of suffering and condemnation, but primarily to those who were convinced they were healthy and had no need of Him. To the weak, diseased, hungry and sin-bound He had another message. 'Come to me, all who are weary and burdened' (Matt. )." Under the Overpass
One doesn't need to scour the highways and byways to find desperate, broken, hungry, and addicted down-trodden people. We rub shoulders with them all the time. They sometimes dress nice, smell good and appear respectable. You'll find them in the pews and seats of churches every time the doors are open. They too can benefit from a message that declares God's love for those who are struggling with life. Some of these are also dangling off the cliff, hanging on by mere threads. They need a rope, not a sermon on how much worse life's about to get. The Gospel is supposed to be good news, isn't it?
How about you? Given the chance to share with those demonstrably down on their luck, what would you say? If you were in their place, what would you need to hear? Who do you know that looks "normal" but is struggling? It's not just the homeless and addicted. What do you say to them? What do they need more a life line or a threat?