Under the Overpass

Just finished this amazing book, “Under the Overpass” by Mike Yankoski.

It’s about this guy Mike and his friend Sam who leave their comfortable, upper middle class lives at good Colleges to go and live on the streets of  four American cities for five months.

The idea came from a sermon about “Being the Christian you say you are” and Mike had to ask himself, “What if I stepped out of my comfortable life with nothing but God and put my faith to the test alongside of those who live with nothing every day?“. He had to consider if he could be like Paul and learn to be content in every circumstance (Philipians 4: 11-12). After a few months, talking it over with some people, getting a group of advisers together and recruiting Sam to join him, they set off and spent the next five months homeless.

Two challenges majorly stand out from this account of their experiences:

Firstly is their sheer faith! There’s that first step out of of the boat – how many of us (and I’m one of them) spend all our time dreaming and talking about what we “should” be doing but never have the guts to give everything else up and do it? Then they keep walking – everyday they had to trust in God for their every need. So few of us know faith like that, we “trust” God with stuff that’s either far too big for us to do anything  about – like the future or the salvation of others – or the little things we realistically already know about – like food and clothing and stuff. But these guys were completely reliant on God for everything – their food, their safety, finding somewhere to sleep, their health, having enough money to get from one city to the next – everything!! Do we have that kind of faith?

Second challenge comes from the reception they got from other Christians. It wasn’t those in the churches, with plenty to spare,  who welcomed them with open arms but other homeless people who would share what very little they had. Usually, no doubt with banners declaring the love of Jesus overhead, church leaders and attendees would either give these smelly, dirty, hungry guys a very wide berth and ignore them or, ask them to leave the property. What would our reaction be if two, to put it bluntly, disgusting looking homeless folk walked into our church? Would we be a congregation of hypocrites like they so often encountered? Or would we love them – welcoming them with a hug and offering them to share lunch and dinner with us? I know what I’d like to say but I’m not sure I could with certainty.

Don’t worry, I’m not running off to live on the streets . . . not yet any way 😛

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One thought on “Under the Overpass

  1. Thanks for the excellent book review, rach. Probably like most people, one of my greatest fears would be to be homeless. I can’t imagine what 5 months must have been like. My RL church has a potluck meal once a month and often a poorly dressed man comes in asking for food. At first most everyone was nervous or uncomfortable, but someone in charge got him a paper plate and dished him out what he wanted. He means no harm and I don’t believe he is homeless.

    Prayers for all those losing their homes .
    All the best rach, Mervyn

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