Lessons from a Homeless Man

Yesterday I officiated funeral services for a homeless man, who was murdered on Friday, December 30 in Yorba Linda. His daughter attends our church and serves as one of our small group leaders. The service was attended by about 50 or so family members and friends, as well as by several news reporters.

Dutch’s life was taken by a man who is now in custody and who has been charged in the stabbing deaths of four homeless men. While the family feels a sense of peace knowing that the streets are safer, they are still left trying to make sense of this senseless tragedy and trying to pick up the pieces as they grieve the loss of their loved one.

While no words can adequately comfort and answer the questions of why, I know many left yesterday’s service deeply touched with a sense of gratefulness for the lessons we learned from this wanderer. Here are a few of the things I shared, as well as few of lessons and reminders that I walked away with…

  1. Each of us are created in the image and likeness of God and we have infinite value and worth to our Creator. God loves us regardless of our race, social or economic status.
  2. Everyone one of us has a story and our lives have an impact on the lives of those around us.
  3. The homeless have a name and family members who love them and are likely praying for them. In this story, Dutch had three loving daughters and ten grandchildren who loved him dearly.
  4. Unconditional love truly breaks through the hardness of one’s heart. In this story, a daughter’s unconditional love and acceptance broke through a hard heart and opened new relational connections to the church, which may have never been.

While we live in a world of good and evil, we know from the Scriptures that evil doesn’t win the end! Yesterday, I saw the good that is in the world. And I left giving thanks to God, as I saw him beginning to make beautiful things out of the ashes.

2 Responses to Lessons from a Homeless Man
  1. Susie clothier Reply

    Brian
    I followed this a bit and wondered where God fit in, when he would appear and how these families would find peace,
    My answer came with this post
    God is good and he used you as his voice at the funeral, as a instrument of his goodness.
    I was so happy to see you and Jennifer at church today, what an amazing weekend you had! Being Gods servant, time with Zack (man day) and a nice evening with your wife
    Keep doing what you are doing, it inspires us to do good in his name
    Blessings to you and Dutch’s family
    Susie

  2. Susie clothier Reply

    And again it is Bryan with “y” 🙂

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