Two millennia ago, the most powerful civilization in the Western World was the Roman Empire. Many customs, laws, engineering and arts of this dominating civilization have found their way to our present-day society. The similarities are numerous and well known. Concrete, railroad gauges, swimming pools and majestic football stadiums, to name just a few, can all trace their beginnings to the great achievements of the Empire that was Rome.
Rome was many things, but it was not a place where freedom for the many was exalted. If you had been lotto-style fortunate to have been born, or made, a citizen of Rome, you had many rights and privileges given to you. If you were not, as were the majority of people under Roman control, you were in essence, nobody. Whether free or slave, your life did not matter, except maybe to pay taxes to keep the Empire rolling along.
So, to be born in that age and not be a citizen of the Roman Empire was to not have much hope in one’s life.
It wasn’t until just a little less than two thousand years ago, an event occurred that changed the Roman Empire and the world. A thirty-year old man began preaching. He preached for three years. His stories and actions amazed many who heard him speak and act. He was not a Roman citizen, nor were those of his community. In fact, they had been subjugated by the Romans many years before.
But the most important thing this man did was to bring a vision of truth that is still with us today. He told those who listened, that though they were not citizens of Rome and were not powerful, they were still children of God. He gave them hope that they too could return to their Father in heaven as long as they understood their soul was God-given and if they would but follow Him, their souls and life could be saved. The power of hope cannot be easily dismissed. It has propelled many people to achieve things that once seemed unimaginable.
Hope is powerful.
Those that we encounter today that have found themselves struggling, need hope first. Those who have fallen on tough times, that need and want help, to rebuild their lives are those to whom we aim to support. Sometimes life deals one a bad hand, and while some may have chosen unwisely when they are dealt such hand, that doesn’t mean they deserve to stand pat with that hand.
You have to know you have gotten a bad hand in order to want to ask for the deck to be reshuffled and the cards dealt again. Those who have had such bad hands dealt to them are those whom we wish to help. We want to help reshuffle the deck and give them a new chance to be successful in their lives. Maybe it’s a new job, a new trade, a relocation, or a new outlook on life. We want to give people hope, which is why creating an environment that allows the hopeful to be successful is not only important, it’s our responsibility.
The key difference in people who are struggling with job losses, emotional turmoil, psychological issues and even homelessness, is that there are some who choose and embrace their plight. The homeless person who relishes the ‘freedom’ to live their life on the street on their own terms, free from authority, and free from most of society’s expectations, is not the person we are talking about. Their needs, wants and challenges are very difficult, at best, to address or support. The premises upon which they base their decisions are not typically shared by most in society and thus there is discord ‘from the get go’ when trying to reach such individuals.
Our goal is to help those who wish to return to active lives in society but are simply downtrodden at the moment. These individuals value what most society values, and it is to them we are offering hope and a helping hand. For centuries, many authors have used the same quote “give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will never hunger.” While the words might slightly differ, the meaning is always the same; helping someone become self-sufficient is life changing.