True Charity, The Giving of Oneself
Charity: a love of all others as brothers, from a belief that we are all children of God.
Donating money and things is one definition of "charity" but there is another much deeper definition: the gift of self and selfless service.
What is "the greatest love"?
The Bible quotes Jesus Christ as teaching that "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Christ continued, saying: "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but i have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
Jesus could have been talking about the Atonement, his own death which he need not have suffered except for his love of all mankind, including of course his disciples, and his own obedience to his Father, the Father of us all.
As God is the Father of us all, then so are we all God's children, just as Jesus was God's Son.
In teaching, Jesus taught by example and said as much when he said" "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."
Christians are not alone in sharing of our substance, nor alone in sharing of our time, our talents, and our compassion. Every world religion that is worth its salt encourages charity, benevolence, and acts of kindness within the family and extended to others, even to total strangers.
Christians recall the scriptural story of the kind Samaritan who went the extra mile for a total stranger who had been beaten, stripped of everything he had, and left wounded by the side of the road. The Samaritan stopped his own journey, tended to the man's wounds, took him to an inn, paid the man's lodging and meals, and promised to cover any added expenses.
We are not likely to have the exact same opportunity or experience. We will have many other opportunities to experience the joy of using our own time, talents, energy, and compassion to meet the every day needs of others, even strangers.
Those occasions will arise when our helping hands, a word of defense or encouragement, some shared time with a lonely person, a visit to a sick person, a prisoner, or a cheerful smile and word of appreciated praise, can make an important difference in another's life.
There are volunteer organizations, not necessarily associated with any religious organization, which have already identified community needs and opportunities for service. They need more hands, voices, and hearts to meet those needs. And when those needs are met there will be still other pressing needs.
A popular hymn in one church asks "Have you done any good in the world today? Have you helped anyone in need? Have you cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, you have failed indeed."
The only time we actually fail, is when we don't even try. There are seemingly countless opportunities to be of service, and there is no need to start a list of them. The chances are good you could name five such opportunities you have right now!
If you need someone's help, sometimes all you need to do is ask. If you have the time, any skill at all, and a little energy, sometimes all you need to do is ask someone if you can help.. Someone in the next 24 hours can use the help that you can offer.
Copyright 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights resrved.
Giving of an abundance, at least of what we have.
- Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army, Deseret Industries: It's The Season To Donate!
The admonition to part of our substance to those with needs is especially in keeping with the holiday spirit. Read on as to what can make your holidays a little warmer for you and someone you may never meet in this life.