Monday

8 Lessons I Learned From Volunteering At A Homeless Shelter

by: Ruthann Mckenzie


Six months ago, I felt strongly compelled to help volunteer and teach at the homeless shelter. I figured that there may be something within me to help teach others through my life stories. Well, six months later and I realized I relate quite a bit to those I have the pleasure of teaching. However, instead of it being lessons I teach from the bible, the life stories I hear from others share Christ to my heart. 

I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned so far. What teaching at the homeless shelter has taught me so far is...
Ministering by feeding the homeless

  • Preach to a world that is dying. Yes it is important to go to church and hear the word and study for yourself. Yet, if we sit in the pews week after week, then we will miss effective opportunities to spread the word. 
  • The love of Christ needs to be shared. If you have hope, then share that hope with others who may not have experienced it before. 
  • We all go through hardships, but you can always bless someone else. Hearing a story from a homeless individual who was blessed with a gift card and bought food was nice, but hearing him share that blessing with someone else he didn't know was amazing. He was selfless when he was also in need. It doesn't matter what situation you are in, you can always afford to help someone else.
  • We are all gifted and have a purpose. You can find yourself in the service of others. It's a humbling, but rewarding experience to empower others to aspire for more again and use their giftedness.

  • Jesus made friends with those we consider "outcasts". Perhaps He did so because those people were pretty cool and just needed someone to talk to and show them love. Jesus didn't look down on people in pity, but he was compassionate and through his love showed others the way up. By being more Christ-like,  perhaps we can socialize with those we may consider "outcasts" to the world and share love.
  • Get out of your comfort place. When I began speaking at the shelter I stuttered and cried my first teaching. I was so overwhelmed with speaking in front of others. It was uncomfortable to say the least. At the end, I spoke with the director and she commended me on my effort and told me next month would be better. I could not help but think, "next month? Did she not see me cry?" But next month was easier, and months later I can no longer use the excuse I do not know how to speak in front of others. Which brings me to my next point...
  • God can use the least of us. You do not have to be highly educated or rich in much. All you need to do to help others is be willing. A willing heart will take you far. People appreciate authenticity and realness over pretentious fluff of those who think they are better than everyone else. We all are broken vessels, but we can all be used. 
  • If you want a change in the world, be the change. Stop complaining of how bad things are and actually make a difference in some way. You were not just placed on this earth to acquire things, be filled with self, worship for your own gain, or mope about how bad things are. No you and I were placed here with a purpose to worship Christ and love. We can display the love of Christ by helping those in need.

The smallest step in the right direction is significant to the kingdom. You don't have to know the most or be the best, but a willing heart is all you need. I trust that when you yield to service of others you may discover more about yourself than ever before. Be the change you wish to see and dare to make a difference!



Ruthann McKenzie is the creator of justbeconfident.com where she blogs and coaches others to be confident and live victoriously. Follow her updates on Facebook and Instagram:@theconfidentyou 

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