Posts Tagged ‘ Charity ’

Faith … Charity Begins with Each of Us

This past Sunday my church along with churches throughout the United States of America participated in “The One Great Hour of Sharing”  (http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/specialofferings/one-great-hour-sharing-offering/). This is a special offering taken each year, on Palm Sunday, and is sent to the Presbyterian Church USA to be used for charitable purposes.  This offering always gives me cause to think about the need for each of us, but especially people of faith, to be charitable and I want to discuss three reasons why.

The first reason is that private charity works.  Though it has been nearly seven years since Hurricane Katrina caused a humanitarian disaster along the Gulf CoastI think it’s valuable to review some of the lessons from that event.  While public institutions, at all levels, were paralyzed by the sheer weight of their bureaucracy private charity acted.  Christians from 41 states and the Salvation Army combined to serve over 20 million meals; they assisted in cleanup and continue, even today, to help with reconstruction.  So profound was the effort that a British atheist was forced to admit in the British Guardian Weekly newspaper “it is impossible to doubt that faith and charity go hand in hand”.

In addition, some of America’s biggest corporate names were a major force for good; Pfizer provided needed drugs, Budweiser delivered truckloads of water and ice and Ford provided vehicles for search and rescue.  Furthermore, CNN Money estimates that corporate donations to aid victims of the storm could ultimately top $1 billion.

Private charitable efforts were also a major part of helping the Gulf Coast recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April of 2010.

The clear lesson is that while public institutions may sometimes fail private charity always delivers.

The second is that it is our Christian duty.  The New Testament contains numerous references to money and stewardship.   Jesus himself spoke often on the topic.  Matthew 6 verses 1 to 4 speaks of how we are to give anonymously to the needy; Mathew 25:40 “Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me”; Mark 12: 41-44 records the parable of the poor widow.  The message we see unmistakably time and again is that we have individual mandate to be charitable.  It’s not the job of the church across the street, the guy next door or for that matter the government. It is OUR responsibility yours and mine to help where help is needed.  This is especially true if, like me, you believe in smaller government.

Lastly, being charitable, especially through collective efforts, allows each of us to make a profound difference.  A single drop of rain has little effect yet when enough are combined together it can fill oceans.  Similarly, our individual efforts when combined with those of all the others can bring hope and comfort to many we will never know.  To me, that is very exciting, rewarding and is one of the things that is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian!

I leave you with I Corinthians 13:13, as recorded in the King James Version, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”