Charity… It’s Not About the Money

Charity… It’s not about the money !

Charity is an interesting subject.  In todays work, we will look at charity and what is

means to us, and how it is that it’s really not so much about the money at all !

Charity is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. These fruits or gifts of the Spirit are

given to us in order to open our hearts and minds to the leadings of God.

Charity is not from us.  Charity is from God.  We are but channels of the gifts we have

received.  It is only left to us, to be open to the opportunity, to serve as the

messengers of the gifts we are given.

Lets look at what scripture has to say to us on this point..

In Genesis, Cain, who had already slew Able, replies when the Lord asks where Able is,
” Am I my brothers guardian ( Keeper)” ( Gen 4:9)

Of course, God, who is God, already knew the answer to this question. The intent here is

clear.  It outraged God, that Cain killed Abel because Abel was his brother, and belonged

to God.  Cain was responsible for Abel, as much as we are responsible for the care of our

brothers and sisters today.

” As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love…” ( John 15:9)

” This is my commandment : Love one another as I have loved you.  A man can have not

greater love than to lay down his life for his friends…” ( John 15:12 ).

Among these two points we have Jesus telling the disciples to love each other and the

others in the world… To remain in His love meant to carry on with the task he provided.

To carry on loving others, those others that Jesus spoke of, was the entire world.

The second part in John 15:12, Jesus gives that foreshadowing of the passion.  He will

lay down his life for those He loved.  Not just the disciples, but for the whole world.

Great, you say ?  So now what ?  What does it mean for us ?  Glad you asked.

The church teaches that this Love, that we have is not just for those who think as we do,

or who believe as we do, or act or speak as we do.   Paul had the same issue when he went

went to the Greeks to preach to the Gentiles.  Some thought that the Kingdom of God was

strictly for the Jewish people.   As we know the Love of God is to be shared with all

people.

The act of Love, or even Charity is not something to be held only for people who are

different than we are, it is not something for us to control, because it was never “ours”

to begin with.  All Love, all grace, all possession, all of the world is a gift.  It is a trust,something we are given by God as a trust to be used for the betterment of our fellow man and for our collective spiritual growth.
Charity is one part of the two fold mission of the Social Justice teachings of the church.    Charity involves our own spiritual growth.  Consider this for a moment..
Charity does not mean giving money to a charity or particular group.  It is part of it, but from a spiritual sense, the physical act of providing money is only the surface.
it is what lies beneath that gives it meaning.

Like tithing, the purpose of charity is not because God is unable or unwilling to provide what ever is needed.  In fact it is quite the opposite.  It is to provide for us the means of our own sanctification.

We are given the opportunities to make our daily labors mean something more.  To sanctify our work day.  The money we gain in work, going to pay for the bills we have are one thing.  What comes after that, is what gives meaning to the giving.

Currently in the world, there is a fascination with what is referred to as “The Tiny House Movement”.  This movement can be whittled down to a move towards a life of simplicity.    This simplicity, like how we view our money” can have a host of motivational sources.  Usually, it seems to be from a desire to live more freely, more simply, without the need for additional possessions or the need to work more hours to gain more free time and quality of life.

The issue with this process is that it seems to stop there.  It stops at the first person.  Personal gain, even if the personal gain is the reduction of their own need.
By giving of ourselves, we give flesh to the faith.

Giving Charity is not just about money. In fact it is only one of the 3 branches , Time, Talent, and Treasure.   Charity can be given in time.  If you are exercising one of the corporal or temporal works of mercy, all of that is considered Charity as well.  Visiting a brother or sister, caring for their personal needs teaching someone, or just spending time to listen.

What talents do you have ?  Any talent, what ever it is can be used in the service of another brother or sister.   Lets say you are an accountant, you can offer to assist someone in preparing their taxes.  It does not even have to be your job.  If your good at cooking or baking, just taking some food to a sick neighbor, or donating baked goods for a bake sale to assist someone in need.

It does not need to be something of a grand gesture.  Nothing has to be on a grand scale.  Saint Theresa of Avila found and taught holiness in the little things in life; in serving others.

Then there is the other leg of Social teaching which is Social Justice.   That social justice will be the work that we do in order to bring about change in our world to make the lives of those who are poor or marginalized; the forgotten people.

There are so many places for us to offer our time talent and treasures.  For like Saint Francis said.. ” For it is in giving that we receive… in dying to ourselves, we are born to eternal life…”

In giving we receive.  We receive vision, we receive growth.. we receive love.  We receive love far above and beyond anything that we are able to give.

We might be able to see the initial concrete changes we will contribute to, but far and beyond are the seeds we plant, that we never see.  The love that is planted in charity, will produce far beyond what the eye can see or the mind can conceive.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

 

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