Charity is an old word. In the King James Bible, the word means love. 1 Corinthians 13 uses the word charity several times. In the beginning verses, Paul paints a word picture to the church at Corinth about what people are like without it—a gong or a clanging symbol.
Paul further describes charity as being:
“. . . long-suffering and kind,” Is not short tempered and is gentle.
“. . . does not envy,” Respects the property of others. Returns borrowed items in better shape than when they were borrowed.
“. . . does not puff itself up,” Does not have an enlarged ego. In my teen years we said someone ‘got the big head’ when this happened.
“. . . seeks not its own, Does not ask, “What’s in it for me?” Does not ask, “Where’s mine?”
“. . . is not easily provoked,” Does not have a short fuse.
“. . . thinketh not evil. Does not dwell on the bad side of a situation.
“. . . rejoiceth not in iniquity,” Does not does not celebrate the bad things of life.
How does our way of life compare with Paul’s description? We see families fall into dysfunctional behavior. People shy away from neighbors. When I read 2 Timothy 3, I see the direct opposite kind of behavior.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.–having a form of godliness but denying it power. (Vv.1-5)
In the 21Century we have nonprofit organizations who work for the benefit of certain segments of society. In the town where we live, the people have a minimum of 20 charitable organizations dedicated to enhancing the lives of others.
As I was growing up, I remember hearing people who had issues say to others, “I don’t want your charity.” Those encumbered with the problems actually might have not wanted others to feel sorry for them.
We have some segments of our society where the inhabitants have spent their lifetimes taking from others because they had the example set to do nothing else. Churches and benevolent societies have learned to be wary of these people. The organizations desire to help them but each group has a set of rules that govern them.
Those who genuinely have need of help exercise gratitude to those who extend aid. The people who work in these organizations have my respect for their perseverance. God blesses them each time they reach out and assist someone who can’t return the favor.
Individuals practice charity when they go out of their way to help those around them get through the tough times in life. People have to set the example of charitableness for their children. It is not something that is inherited.
As time has progressed in our country, circumstances have made the need for charity to come to the forefront of our minds. We all know people who have had to approach a food bank and request food for their families. Churches have set up food pantries in one form or another. One church in our town has what they refer to as a ‘non-food’ pantry. The distribute paper products and toiletry items because those who are on food stamps can’t get these items.
In each endeavor to relieve the suffering of the people, these ministries try to show the love of Jesus Christ.
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