The Odessa Record -

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Monday honors legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Last updated 1/18/2020 at 3:48pm

For the past 16 years, former Odessa High School English teacher Dr. Duane Pitts, now semi-retired and living in Moses Lake, has written a special piece honoring the late Dr. King on the occasion of this national holiday.

We can end homelessness, but don’t. Dr. King noted that our failure of will means we “cannot enter the kingdom of greatness.”

Busing a homeless woman elsewhere, tossing a coin to a homeless family, punishing a homeless veteran for sleeping in the park are neither compassionate nor charitable. Each denies Christ in all of us. Dr. King asked that we look to Jesus.

Jesus was a refugee – His family fled Herod and found safety in Egypt. Returning later, they lived in Nazareth, not Bethlehem, as refugees. During His last three years, Jesus was homeless. Knowing this, we should understand better two of His parables: The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

The good Samaritan, a foreigner, helped a wounded Jewish man while “religious” Jewish men passed him by. The Samaritan paid for the care of the man. Jesus asks us two basic questions: 1) Will you help those in need? And 2) Will you care for those in need, even at personal cost? Our answers reveal how Christlike we are.

The next parable shows us a rich man ignoring homeless Lazarus in terrible need. Although wealthy, the rich man does nothing to help – no leftovers from his lavish meals, no invitations to eat at his table, no clothes from his wardrobe. Jesus tells us that religious words are insufficient to live our faith.

Jesus “is” the wounded man and the starving Lazarus. We are to treat all others as Himself: “‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40).

Tacoma is building mini-shelters and providing assorted services for the homeless; Stockton (CA) offers the poor $500 a month, no strings attached. Each city lifts people up. This is Christlike.

When we are Christlike, we find ways to help the needy. Anything else denies that we are one body in Christ (Rom 12:5).


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