Charity Being Neglected

July 27, 2012

Charity Being Neglected

            Charity is a New Testament word.  It isn’t found in the Old Testament.  It is the Greek word “agape” and it’s found 28 times in the New Testament.  Sometimes it is translated “love.”  Colossians 3:12-14 says “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.    And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”

In Acts 20:35 Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” There is blessing for both the giver and the receiver.  The giver has the satisfaction of knowing that he has relieved, in a measure, the anxiety of someone.  It give us a feeling of worth when we sacrifice something of our own to help someone who is less fortunate than we are.  The feeling is even greater if we are able to help someone we know personally.  I think the joy is greater yet if our gift is anonymous.  That way we receive no praise or thanks in return.  Proverbs 19:17 says “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”

The receiver also is blessed to know that he has sufficient worth that someone felt led to help him in his time of need.  Because of being a foreign missionary, I have most often been on the receiving end.  I will be forever grateful to the people who have shown love to me and my family.  Because they gave, we too were enabled to give.  Our giving was not always monetary.  We were enabled to give the gospel and make people rich spiritually.   I shall never forget the joy that filled my heart one day when I was passing out tracts in a poor neighborhood inArgentina.  I passed by a pre-fab wooden house that was badly in need of paint.  In front of the house stood a woman dressed in a threadbare dress.  She was singing a well know gospel song at the top of her voice.  In spite of her poverty, she was giving to spread the good news of salvation with her time and talent.  I wonder if she was one of those of whom the Apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 6:10 “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

There was a time when those around us who were in a desperate situation were the recipients of charity. Now they qualify for government assistance.  It isn’t called charity.  They receive it as though they have a legitimate right to it.   The welfare system is denying us the blessing Jesus spoke of that comes from charity.  People don’t need our help because they get it from the government.  Those who receive it miss the blessing of being grateful to those who   met their need.  Unfortunately, most of them feel entitled to it.  They don’t stop to realize that it’s made possible by those who have paid taxes.  We as Christians don’t feel that we are being charitable when we pay our taxes.  It’s our obligation.  Only part of what we pay goes to maintain the welfare system.

All indications are that we are headed towards a socialistic society.  Most people can’t see far enough ahead to know where it will take us.  The time will inevitably come when a socialistic system will implode.  That means it will collapse because the foundation can no longer carry the weight of the structure that has been built upon it.  Socialism will collapse when those who are taking from it exceeds those who are contributing to it.  If that happens, we will all be back on poverty level and we’ll have an abundance of opportunities to practice charity.

In the mean time, we can be charitable in our giving to our church and to the ministry of missions.  There are still those around us that we can help.  It’s often spiritual and emotional support they need and not our money.  We can be charitable with our time as well as with our money.

Most often welfare recipients miss the blessing of being grateful for what they receive because it comes from what appears to be an inexhaustible source of wealth – the federal government.  If their help was coming from a local source, perhaps even from people they know personally, they would be more likely to be grateful for it.  It would also discourage them from taking advantage of the charity of others.  It seems most probable that they would be more inclined to put forth effort to improve their situation; knowing that they couldn’t expect to keep receiving help from others, if they weren’t doing their part to help themselves.

We need to be sensitive to the leading of the Lord as to when, where, and how much we should give.  We need to be good stewards of what God has given us.  Some day we will have to answer to God for the way we have used what he has given to us.  “Put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”


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