All day long I had one thing going through my mind. It was some years back when a gentleman came up to me at a holiday party and asked me if I thought he had done enough to go to heaven.
The man, a friend of my father, was given the bad news of cancer. His time was limited. He had gone to church faithfully, made a lot of money and took care of his family, but the fear of the future weighed heavily on him. It was the same fear I had seen from one of my homeless friends. Roy Percer was a Vietnam Veteran and somewhere along the road became a fixture in the homeless population in N.E. Dallas. The first time I saw Roy, he was sitting down in the medium at Lovers and Greenville Ave. Wrapped in a blanket and barefooted, he chumped down on a hotdog someone had purchased for him. Later in the day it would be chased down with some cheap Cisco wine.
About 2 months before he passed, Roy was given a Bible. There were many nights we sat up and discussed all that it contained. He excepted Jesus before he died. He also had the exact same fear of the future as the other man. The exact same look on his face.
On the brink of the holidays, before the "feel good stories" are ran in the media, I am reminded what Jesus told his disciples when they were whinning about who would be first in heaven and what their position would be. The first would be last and the last would be first. To me personally, this moment is in my top three.
When Jesus was crucified, He fulfilled this statement. Not a disciple, not a family member, best friend, rich man, religious person or even king but a convicted thief was the first to spend a day in paradise with Jesus. A person condenmed by society. The last person anyone would've chosen.
While mainstream society might criminalize and disdain the homeless, it is most likely many of them will stand in front of the line when the time comes. Don't be surprised.