Jesus Christ had no birthday.
He also had no social security number.
He said he was sleeping at churches.
I suppose I could have hassled him about this. I mean, seriously, I’m supposed to believe your name is Jesus Christ? Do I look like I was born yesterday?
I didn’t hassle him.
I didn’t hassle him, because he WAS Jesus Christ.
That may not be the name on his birth certificate, wherever such a thing exists now. When he was a little boy, his mother probably called him James or Billy or Jamal. I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter a bit.
He was obviously homeless.
He was living out of a bag. He needed food that would keep without a refrigerator and that he could eat without a stove or microwave.
Whatever name his mother gave him at birth, that man was Jesus Christ. Every single person that walks through the doors of Helping Hands… They are all Jesus Christ. Male, female, young, old, black, white, Hispanic, Asian… The moms with babies on their hips and the new widow who kissed my cheek with tears in her eyes.
They are all Jesus, and once a month, I get to serve them.
It’s simple. It’s a little thing.
Everyone can do it.
I show up before 9 AM. I take forms and call names and get signatures. I ask for prayer requests and turn in their paperwork so they can get bags of food and visit the clothes closet. Some weeks, my kids go with me. They have sorted tomatoes, filled bags, shelved boxes, and generally filled in on whatever tasks they’re given.
I’m there for 2-3 hours, tops.
Every month, I have to talk myself into going. I’m pretty introverted and talking to strangers non-stop is a challenge. But I am always glad I went. I am always glad that each person I speak with got at least one big smile in their day. At least one person spoke to them without judgment or contempt. For at least a few minutes, someone saw them as people, someone was willing to hear their stories.
And let me tell you, they can have some crazy stories. Sometimes, I leave there and cry for the heartbreak. Sometimes, I run into friends. Sometimes, they make me laugh or they say something profound and I think about it for days or weeks after.
But, always, they are Jesus Christ.
When the man who called himself Jesus left, I looked at another volunteer and shrugged. I said, “Ya know what, for all I know, he IS Jesus. I have read my Bible, and I know what happens to people who ignore Jesus when He shows up hungry and homeless.”
I am not fond of goats and I don’t want to be one of them.
This month, we have shared all sorts of ways you can “do something.” As Maria said earlier, many of them are big things, things that you may not feel capable of. The idea of doing those big things may completely overwhelm you. It overwhelms me.
But there is something you can do.
You can trust that each person you meet is Jesus and treat them accordingly.
P.S. In case you are wondering, Jesus is a black man with a Jerry curl. Whoever painted all those country church portraits will be sorely disappointed one day.