“Feel for others—in your pocket.”Charles Spurgeon
As I finished checking out at the grocery store the other day, my eyes were drawn to a donation box at the register—a small metal can with a frayed label, abandoned and slowly rusting away on the counter. Seeing it reminded me to donate, so I dropped the last of my change and left.
On the drive home I thought about that donation box and what it says about us as a society that the art of giving is slowly dying away.
The Encyclopedia Britannica says that Christian charity is considered
“…the highest form of love, signifying the reciprocal love between God and man that is made manifest in unselfish love of one’s fellow men.”Encyclopedia Britannica
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We live in a world that is slowly turning inward. Our views of others, family, and religion are becoming more self-centered—a condition that has only been made worse by the pandemic. We are slowly looking away from fellow humans.
The foundation of Christianity is built on the premise that God loved us so much that he did not withhold his only son but gave him up so that we may not perish; this is the epitome of selflessness.
There was a time when a passion for giving ran wild in the church. The Bible tells us that the earliest Christians sold their possessions and gave them to the poor. Their hold on earthly things was invariably loose.
The Problem with Introspection
When we look within, we are either drawn to pride or self-pity, neither of which glorifies God. With more and more self-help books on the market, psychologists are calling on the masses to look inside themselves for answers. As Christians, however, we are called, as in Hebrews 12, to fix our eyes on Jesus.
When we look to Jesus to perfect our faith, He shows us how much we need Him. The Prayer of St. Francis states:
“O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”Prayer of St. Francis
Our Call of Duty
We, as Christians, are called to give. Charity can come in many forms; it is the gift of our time, a shoulder to cry on, giving up our Saturday to clean up the neighborhood. It is the giving of our resources for the glory of the kingdom.
We are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, to be living examples of God’s love. How much would the world around us be transformed if we lived out the example of charity?
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Our hold on earthly things should be so loose that no need in our fellow Christians goes unmet. The greatest thing about charity coming in many forms is that the Spirit Himself will direct you to the needs of others.
As Christians, the daily cry of our hearts should be that God will use us as an instrument of peace to meet the needs of our fellow man. We should pray that the Spirit will show us the needs we can meet in the world around us. Our eyes should remain focused on Jesus, the ultimate example of selfless giving.