Being charitable is a style of living more than an act of giving.
“If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different?” Matthew 5:46 MSG.
My thoughts and comments today encourage you to “choose generosity.”
Being concerned for yourself and those nearest you is a natural response. But that omits those who have real needs but for which you feel little practical responsibility. Feeling compassionately toward family and friends is natural. You know them and feel comfortable with them and you know that they also care about you and your needs. It is only natural that you care about theirs. But what about the needs of those you don’t know well or more likely do not know at all?
Jesus challenged His followers this way, “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there in that? If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? But you are to be . . as your Father in Heaven is . .” Matthew 5:46-48. The needs of others, and their inadequacy to provide those, present a challenge in your lifestyle of charity and generosity. At certain times of year, there are many requests by community organizations, “to remember those less fortunate,” and thankfully there is usually a broad response to such appeals. But people’s needs are not limited only to such times.
The transience of people and vast metropolitan areas complicate a previous generations’ social inclination for neighbors helping neighbors. Many families know their neighbors little more than anyone else. Sadly, we have become a community of strangers without the old fashioned sense of community. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by people’s needs, becoming paralyzed by helplessness when exposed to the vast scale and scope of world needs from social and global media. But God’s Word remains true. “How blessed is he who considers the helpless.” Psalm 41:1 NAS.
I remember being told, “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” Touching hearts and changing lives begins when even one heart acts compassionately. Consideration precedes compassion; compassion prompts contribution. There is a small rhyme that I learned many years ago that seems appropriate to my thoughts today; “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do; and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do.” Being charitable is a style of living before it becomes an act of giving. Charity and generosity becomes a lifestyle. Consider 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 KJV. Living charitably is more than giving money.
Generosity can be expressed by an encouraging word, a helping hand, a kind gesture, or a bit of time and companionship. Becoming generous with your time and self makes sacrificing more practical things happen more easily. “Christ sacrificed His life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially . . and not just be about ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears and you made it disappear. Let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.” Read 1 John 3:16-18 MSG. Charity and generosity really is about lifestyle, isn’t it?
Today, I pray for you to make your lifestyle a little more like Jesus.