What is Charity, And Who Should We Help?
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
This is just about something I have been contemplating for a long time... What is charity, and who should we help... My thoughts repeatedly lead me to these verses in Matthew...
English Standard Version (ESV)
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
When we think of helping others, (for charity), we often think of the poor, or those who are in need financially. Is money the only thing that we need to give in order to help others? Who should we help? Who is it that needs help? How often tho, do we think of helping those who may appear outwardly, to be better off than us? Should we help those better of financially than us? Think about it... in the above verses... does it say single out only the poor to help?
I say... it does not! I say, it tells us to care for (love) any who are in need. Well... who else but people that are without wealth, would need anyone's help you may ask? Well... first you need to realize, that not all needs are based on money. Some needs may be physical or mental needs. What about the sharing of our time?
Consider these situations...
- A lonely person (any age), with no family. They may have enough money to be comfortable, and live in a nice home, but that does not buy them friends, or company to keep them from feeling the pain of being alone. We can offer them help, by visiting them occasionally, and offering them friendship, and maybe try inviting them to join you in an activity.
- A person who recently is divorced, and is struggling to make sense of what has happened in their life. We can listen to them, as they talk about how they feel over this change in their life.
- A person has recently become widowed, or has lost a child to illness or an accident. We can be a shoulder for them to cry on, and offer them the comfort of our company.
-A person who is from a different country or region, who is either visiting or has recently moved to live in your town / city. They often do not know anyone, and do not know the area they now live in. We can offer them friendship, and help them get to know the community. We can include them in activities, so that they can meet new people, and get to know what resources are available in the community.
-A person is struggling with their faith. It can be for any reason... They may have had a brush with the law, and be in prison, or they may feel they are on the brink of doing something desperate. In order to make sense of what they are going through, they may seek God. We can help them, by being there and helping them seek the answers from God, by guiding them through passages in the Bible.
-A neighbour may have lost their pet. We can help them look for the pet.
-A persons car may have broken down in the middle of the road. We can offer to phone a tow truck for them, or offer them some water or coffee to drink, or just stay with them, while they wait for someone to come collect them and their car.
In each of these cases, we are not giving the people our money. Instead, we are asked to share our time. Remember the verses above? Remember where it said... "I was a stranger, and you welcomed me", "I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’"... How often we seem to forget that part of those verses...
So... In those words quoted, we see that charity involves more than just money. It involves time. And our time is something most people can appreciate, and may need... both those who are poor regarding money, as well as those who have an abundance of money.
Thus... we should consider helping all people... Because while some may have money, they may be poor in other ways... such as faith, strength, courage, or friendship... things that involve time... And after all... Time is the most precious thing we can share with anyone...
Think about it...