Charity Begins at Home
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35
I remember as a child, growing up in a small village in England, the Church would often hold a Charity Fête. There would be stalls set up on the local green with booths offering all kinds of wares: candy floss (cotton candy), toffee apples (candy apples), sweets (candy), biscuits (cookies), scones (biscuits), there would usually be a Tombola (raffle), Morris dancing (kind of like Irish dancing), and other fun activities. The money raised through the fête would go to any local needs that the Church was aware of, mainly the poor. We would hear the grown-ups saying, “well, you know, charity begins at home,” meaning, we need to make sure that the people closest to us are taken care of and shown love before we reach out to the surrounding areas.
We tend to use and abuse the word love nowadays, we use it to describe how we feel about our car, our favorite foods, a movie, a color, and then the people we care about most in our life, and then our Lord and Savior. I like the way the word charity is used in the King James Bible, it is translated in most other versions as the word love, but it means so much more. The Greek word ‘agape’, translated as charity and love, implies giving sacrificially and selflessly to others, out of genuine goodwill, while expecting nothing in return. Isn’t that how love should really work? I know when my children were small, if they did something kind and selfless for one of their siblings it made my heart so happy. To me, it showed that they were maturing when they started to show concern for others’ needs instead of just their own. You know how children are when they are small (the little heathens!) — no one has to teach them to take the biggest slice of cake, to call their sibling a name, or to shove someone out of the way when they are trying to get to something! As parents, we spend most of our time correcting and guiding our children to be kind and considerate to others. Our children are mostly grown now, and at Christmas all of them enjoy buying special, meaningful gifts for each other, and I think are more excited about watching the others open the gifts they gave than open the ones they received. That sure blesses my heart!
Just think how it must bless God’s heart when He sees His children showing Christian maturity by giving and serving sacrificially –showing charity to their brethren. Our Lord Jesus said that others would know that we are Christians by the love we show to our fellow Christians. I am so thankful for my Church family, my brothers and sisters in the Lord, they have shown charity to our family in so many ways: brought meals when we were sick or when babies arrived, helped us build our house and move in, showed us encouragement and support when we needed it, and mostly, they have faithfully prayed for us. On Valentine’s Day we like to show love to those close to us by giving cards, candy, flowers and gifts, but I feel challenged this year to show charity to those around me every day of the year, not just on Valentine’s Day. The most loving thing we can do for someone who does not know Jesus as their Savior is to lovingly share the truth of the Gospel with them, and help them to have the joy of sins forgiven, God’s grace while living, and being bound for heaven. Let’s show a little charity, both at home, and farther around us.
~Graced and Grateful Grammy
Do all things with love
“Let all your things be done with charity.” I Corinthians 16:14