The current debate around the partial government shutdown is centered on one thing – The President’s “request” for $5.7 billion for border security with includes money for construction of a wall along the southern border of the US – or at least several hundred miles of some kind of wall/fence/barrier.

As I’ve said before, I can’t speak to what is in America’s best interest when it comes to border security.  It is not a subject that I have any expertise in.  On the face of it, I don’t see how a wall would be effective given the amount of money that is being proposed for it.  But this really isn’t a post about a the merits or criticisms about the wall on the border.

Instead, this a post on what I would do with $5.7 billion if I were in charge of how it could be spent.

I would use the money to carry out Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:35-36:

…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.

That’s right, I’d use $5.7 billion dollars to feed people.  You can feed a whole lot of people for a long time with that much money.

I would use it to welcome strangers.  I would hire more immigration judges and lawyers, build welcome centers, have people at ports of entry that would walk people through the processes for immigration.

I would use it to clothe the naked.  And I would use it to provide a lot of laundry for the poor who are challenged with cleanliness.

I would use it for health care.  To assist people in paying for needed medication and procedures.  To provide insurance that is needed so people don’t lose their homes due to a health bill.

I would use it for prison reform.  To change us from punishing people to rehabilitating people so that when they come out of prison they are ready to be a contributing member of society, that the stigma of serving time would be done.

I would extend beyond the strict confines of Jesus’ statement also.  I would use the money to provide housing for people.  $5.7 billion pays for a great deal of shelters, tiny homes, converted malls and stores, etc.  I would follow a housing first approach.

I would use it to pay off student loan debts for many students who are saddled with crippling debt.

In short, I would use $5.7 billion to improve the lives of the people in direct and meaningful ways.

How would you use $5.7 billion?