As one of the leading Christian universities internationally, serving others is constantly at the forefront of our agenda. From installing water wells on the eastern coasts of Africa to teaching languages in the uttermost parts of South America, mission work is a constant goal we strive for.
Sometimes, however, we forget that helping our neighbors here in Waco is just as beneficial as reaching out internationally. Many times, it’s easier to see the needs of the people who live down the street. In the midst of winter, a need at the forefront is clear — winter coats and accessories for the those who can’t afford them.
It seems throughout the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it’s easy for concept of being neighborly gets lost. With daily struggles of trying to balance classes, extracurricular activities, work and friends, the lives of students can get hectic. But students need to remember that in spite of how busy our lives can become, there’s something more important.
One of the greatest commandments, according to Mark 12:31, is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This is, Jesus said, the second greatest commandment of all, the first being to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The second commandment can be taxing. It can take a lot of time and energy to serve others around us. It’s not always easy for us to give up money we make in college or schedule volunteer activities around our crazy schedules. However, is it because we’re too busy that we tend to avoid volunteering or is it just more convenient to ignore the fact we actually can?
In accordance with the mission of the university, we are challenging the Baylor community to reflect and respond to the need to help our neighbors. We would like to extend an invitation to assist the homeless community by donating winter coats, gloves, socks and hats to those who need them.
The definition of homeless, according to the city of Waco’s website, is “an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” Even people who sleep in shelters can be homeless. However, some homeless people end up sleeping outside. Even shelters could get cold at night.
Imagine the gloves you no longer use. Imagine earmuffs you haven’t used in years. Imagine the scarf that you don’t necessarily need. Giving these items would help achieve Baylor’s mission to serve others.
When it comes to helping others, especially those within the homeless population, it seems many have several reservations to do so. Many of these reservations unfortunately, are bound solely by myths and half-truths.
And while many make comments such as “It’s their fault they’re in that situation,” and “they need to just get a job,” it’s important to remember that many of them suffer from mental illnesses and other handicaps that can restrict them from having steady jobs. It is difficult to get a job without a permanent residence or telephone.
Before judging the homeless population, consider the fact they’re people too. They are our neighbors, and they can use our help — giving clothes for warmth is a simple and practical way to extend to them the servant’s hand.