The main characteristic of a successful worker with the needy is endurance. For the most part, helping the needy is a much longer, more complicated process than most people would ever think necessary in our fast-paced, direct society. There aren’t twelve steps to escape homelessness nor five easy lessons to learn how to help people on the street. So if our friend isn’t making the progress we thought they should, we could show this frustration and our friend could feel blamed by us that they aren’t where we think they should be. If it seems like the need never ends, just get comfortable and enjoy the ride.
One thing that might help is to remember that the goal of our friendship is not to make our friend middle class, but to help them follow Jesus with whatever resources is available to us. So we are not here to create change in people’s lives, but to be available for when God needs someone He can use. So let’s not measure our success in ministry by how many people got off the street or who came to the Lord. Rather, we need to measure it by how much we see God using us in other people’s lives. Our ministry is as much a transformation of ourselves as well as others.