Living out the love and teachings of Jesus -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Living out the love and teachings of Jesus

By Jonathan Reckford

It’s not difficult to find documents declaring adequate shelter a human right—Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example, clearly mentions this. Since 1948, there has been much debate as to whether families have a right to housing and whether governments are legally compelled to ensure shelter for all. I imagine the conversation will continue into the future as well.

The International Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity International formally endorsed that article a few years ago, underscoring the fact that “All people everywhere have a responsibility to work together to ensure that everyone has decent shelter on terms they can afford. Furthermore, we believe the provision of adequate housing for everyone is a religious, moral, social and political obligation to be fulfilled, not by any one organization, but through the commitment of all.”

As a faith-based organization, we undertake our house-building work because of a higher calling to live out the love and teachings of Jesus and because of a commitment to serve our neighbors—God’s children—in need of a better place to live.

Luke 10: 30-35 provides the scriptural context. Having been asked to define neighbor, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. When finished, he asks, “Which one of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” “The one who treated him kindly,” comes the response. Then Jesus instructs, “Go and do the same.”

We are called to serve the “least of these.” This is manifested in the house-building, life-changing work that we’re doing in direct relationship with God, with one another and with those in need of decent homes.

Let us commit ourselves to our shared mission—and to the kind of community Christ calls us to—there’s no arguing our obligation to serve those in urgent need around us, to address this abhorrent wrong in our world.

And that is clearly the right thing to do.

Jonathan Reckford is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.