We moved from Australia to Tennessee when I (Luke) was five and Joel was seven. Our dad was a concert promoter in Australia; and when a tour he had been planning didn’t work out, we lost everything.
Thankfully, Dad had a job offer in Nashville, Tennessee. So we packed what we could into 16 suitcases and sold everything else. At the time, there were six kids—mom was pregnant with the seventh. Around two months after we arrived in Tennessee, Dad lost his job.
It was a very difficult time, but we saw God at work in our lives and we drew closer to each other. We would mow lawns and rake leaves as a family and do whatever we could to get by while Dad was looking for work. There were times when we would all sit in this furniture-less house we were renting, not knowing where the next paycheck was going to come from. We didn’t even have a car. We would sit in a circle and pray for everything, and we saw miraculous interventions!
Being from Australia, the idea of Thanksgiving was new to us. That year, we were invited into a stranger’s home to share a traditional Thanksgiving meal. At the end of the night the father of the house walked up to my mom and said, “Hey, we believe God’s told us to give you a new minivan.” So he handed over the keys!
Others found out that we didn’t have any furniture, and they showed us compassion. A few months later, we didn’t have a way to pay for my little sister’s birth. In the hospital, somebody anonymously paid for it—the whole bill!
People we didn’t know … complete strangers in the community loved on us and cared for us. That’s the biggest reason why our family stayed in Nashville—we saw neighbors loving neighbors.
It’s also one of the reasons why we love and support Nashville Rescue Mission. The Mission loves on people who are hurting and in need. The Mission provides connection and community for people who may believe they have exhausted all other options.
I know there are people who think it is enabling if you help someone who is homeless. My philosophy is a little different. It’s not my responsibility to be the judge. It is however, my responsibility to serve and to give. If a person is hungry, feed them. If someone needs a place to sleep, give this person a bed.
But I’m also uniquely aware of my helplessness. I know there are times when I can’t financially provide but I want to acknowledge them … and encourage them to seek help from a place like Nashville Rescue Mission.
In America, I don’t think homelessness is just an issue of food and shelter; often, it’s a lack of connectivity to community. There are a lot of nonprofits in Nashville that we can give to and support. What I love about the Mission is that I can see their impact on people all across this city. On behalf of for KING & COUNTRY, we love the Mission and believe in the work this organization is doing.
Grammy award-winning band, composed of Australian brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, recently released their movie, Priceless, now available at Redbox, Walmart, Amazon, and iTunes. Also, check out their new single, “O God Forgive Us (feat. KB).”