Yesterday, I had the privilege of helping out with a group called “The Homeless Project.” A young, non-believing woman in our area, Amanda, recently took it upon herself to collect items such as socks, gloves, scarfs, canned food, and blankets, and then she would go to the homeless encampments in our area and give them out, all by herself. She started doing it because it has been extremely cold here at night–well below freezing—and she felt like she needed to do her part to help those who are down and out. She has now recruited others to help her. She’s not part of a church group, she isn’t doing community service for college or high school. She just hated the idea of fellow humans freezing and going hungry right under her nose.
Anyway, while my daughter and I dropped off the things we had gathered and/or purchased, I mentioned to a young man that was helping, that I had lots of socks. His eyes brightened and he turned to a homeless man that was kind of hanging back said, “Tom, did you get any socks yet?” The older man said that he hadn’t and that he could really use some. As the young man handed Tom some brand new socks, he smiled. As the little old guy walked over to a place where he could put them on, I thought of my brother, who is homeless. It felt so good to see this man get socks–my socks. Last night as the temperature began to to drop, I remembered Tom and thought about how his feet are going to be warm and dry because of my socks. Something else struck me as well. When I encountered that homeless man yesterday, I never once wondered if he was “saved” or if I should share Jesus with him. I also never wanted to figure out why he was on the streets just so that I could judge whether he was worthy of help. All I really cared about was that I got to help a fellow human being be more comfortable for a little while.
Amanda, my daughter, and I, are all atheists. Christ does not dwell in us, nor does the Holy Spirit. How can it be that we would want to reach out to help others? How can it be that I felt such joy helping someone less fortunate than me? Is it possible? Can one really be and do good without god? Christians say no; they are wrong. Doing for people feels so much better than doing for Jesus…any day of the week.