I'm trying to answer this question, "What would Jesus do?"

An organizations I am involved with is a network of foster homes that is used for emergency placement. These are the families that take kids that have been very recently removed from their biological homes. Foster homes are aggressively recruited from the local church community... but we, the church community, have failed to step up and meet the need. There are families that are interested in being a part of our program, but they are not Christians.

So the question is. Do we place kids with the non-Christian families that are stepping up and interested in participating in the program?

Opinions will vary widely and I can understand why people might say yes or no. What I'm looking for is any biblical examples of where Jesus used a non-believer to do his good work.

  • Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian organization that allows both Christians and non-Christians alike to serve God and each other. Yep. Totally. Disbelief in God does not disqualify God's existence.
    – Double U
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 23:04
  • I agree and that's a good example of a great organization. I am re-reading the parable of the good Samaritan also. Any other things you can think of?
    – spoon16
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 23:43
  • Welcome to the site! This next has nothing to do with the quality of your post, it's just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": the help page and How we are different than other sites? Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 23:48

3 Answers 3


Because your questions has a "What would Jesus do?" flavor, I'm going to answer in keeping:

In Matthew 25:31-46 we find there will be those who show up at the judgement and discover they were an outsider even though they did all sorts of work in the name of Jesus thinking they were an insider. Likewise, there will be outsiders who find out they are insiders.

It seems to me that Jesus is suggesting that kindness to those in need is more important than our sheep/goat categories. Believers should read this and get a gut-check. Are we outsiders thinking we are insiders? Are there people we think are outsiders who are really insiders? It sounds possible if you take the parable seriously. I think this can used to establish some priorities in regard to your question.

Additionally, it is possible that some of those outsiders just might come "inside" as they minister "alongside." What greater thing than to make some disciples along the way? It may be best to think of this a secondary aspect of this ministry.

And finally, there is no greater source on this than the Holy Spirit himself. Exercise sanctified discernment when selecting families. The Holy Spirit is able to discern the heart, also regardless of categories. Even Jesus turned some away who seemed like great candidates and accepted others who didn't.

  • I suggest accepting this answer. Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 21:51

Great question! I think I have found one example. A few times, someone asked Jesus to heal them and, after healing, He sent them to the "as a testimony to them". Examples1 are:

Note that in both cases the petitioner started with "Lord" - implying that he was a believer.

Contrast that with this story from Mark 1:40-45:

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’

Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: ‘See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

Note two things:

  1. This man does not address Jesus as "Lord" (see Romans 10:9 and 1 Corinthians 12:3).
  2. Jesus gives the man specific instructions: not to tell anyone and to offer a sacrifice as a testimony to the priests. The man does neither, thereby inhibiting Jesus' ministry.

Together, these two things imply to me that the man was not a believer nor was intent on making any effort to become a believer - he simply wanted healing.

Conclusion (which perhaps includes a pertinent warning for your ministry): Jesus wanted to use this man and gave him specific instructions but the man himself disobeyed.

1 Though possibly these two Gospel accounts are about the same event.


1 Corinthians 6;10-11 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our GOD.

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