Harry Chapin followed Jesus’s teachings despite being an Atheist.
“I get asked all the time how can one change the world?
If you care enough you can have an impact because in the long run we’re not sure about a prior life or an afterlife, we’re all hoping for that, but what we can do is maximize what we have in this brief flicker of time, in the INFINITY, and try to milk that.[Let’s be] hungry in a different kind of way: Hunger for experience, Hungry for meaning and [if so] you can be terribly, terribly effective if you want to be.”
When Harry Chapin, the superstar folk singer of the 70’s, died in 1981 his surviving widow reported that “‘only with slight exaggeration’ — that ‘Harry was supporting 17 relatives, 14 associations, seven foundations and 82 charities. Harry wasn’t interested in saving money. He always said, ‘Money is for people,’ so he gave it away.'” Despite his success as a musician, he left little money and it was difficult to maintain the causes for which he raised more than $3 million in the last six years of his life. The Harry Chapin Foundation was the result.” [from wikipedia]
Harry Chapin’s epitach etched on his grave reads from one of his songs:
- Oh if a man tried
- To take his time on Earth
- And prove before he died
- What one man’s life could be worth
- I wonder what would happen
- to this world
Harry Chapin was a living example of what Jesus said in
the Gospel of Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who addresses me as ‘Master, master,’ will get into Heaven’s domain — only those who carry out the will of my Father in heaven.”
If an atheist like Harry Chapin can dedicate his work and his money to eradicating hunger within the US how much should those who profess a belief in Jesus Christ and are famous or wealthy be doing! Harry Chapin may not have gone to church or prayed to Jesus but he followed Jesus’s instructions in “carrying out the will of my Father in heaven.” Isn’t he an example of one who “loved his neighbor as himself” (Matthew 19:20)? How about Jesus’s teaching that “whoever has two shirts should share with someone who has none; whoever has food should do the same?” Can I point to a famous Christian leader who has done this more than Harry Chapin? He died virtually penniless, on the way to a benefit fund raiser concert, because he was giving all his money to efforts to end hunger in the US. If there are wealthy/famous American Christian religious leaders who have acted so selflessly in their love for their neighbors please leave their names in the Comments below so that they too can be honored here.