August 20th 2009

If I Have Not Charity

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:2 (KJV)

There isn’t a day that passes when, either thudding through my letterbox or pinging into my email in-tray, I don’t receive a request to support some worthy cause. I decided long ago to limit my generosity to just a couple of charities with which I have personal a interest and affection.

Of course the Scripture quoted above actually refers to love. When Mr Blair, our former Prime Minister, read that chapter at Diana, Princess of Wales’ funeral, he changed ‘charity’ to ‘love’ throughout the chapter.

For most of us, being stopped on a street corner by some collector or flag seller is a minor inconvenience. And most of us are not unwilling to support the worthy cause being ‘flagged’ before us. We would be too embarrassed to refuse oftentimes, and most successful charities at times play on that oh-so-human quality.

But ask yourself: do you actually plan where you give your money? Or does it just happen as you bump into charity collectors, or as they knock at your door? The New Testament tells us that God loves a cheerful giver, but does he expect us just to give without taking a moment to consider the merit of the charity? Does that actually show love when we don’t?

And then there are some charities more worthy than others. It might be that many hundreds would give to a popular cause, but few would even know, much less give to, a little known charity. Perhaps we should decide in the name of love-at least occasionally-to pass by the well-known cause deliberately to support the little-known charity.

Most merciful Father, thank you for giving us, even in times of straightness, the means to be of benefit to those in need. We ask that you will help us to resolve to do the most good, show the most love, through the gifts that we are able to give to charities and those less fortunate than ourselves.
In Jesus’ name

Study by John Stettaford

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