Worldview from Franklin County: Charity begins in heart
Driving home the other day, I saw an advertisement for charity for Ukraine. The general ad listed multiple credible charities that could use monetary donations.
This got me to thinking about charity in general and something our pastor said in a sermon the other month.
In a series of messages about virtues, he shared with us the fact that when Jesus ministered, he addressed the physical needs of the person before the spiritual. Wow! This makes so much sense.
Amongst right-wing folks, there is an idea of testing welfare recipients for drugs before giving them aid. I was a proponent of this until that sermon.
We must remember that welfare is charity and should be given freely. Now, we don’t want to become enablers of criminal or self-destructive behaviors, but we must acknowledge that the church has surrendered its role of providing for the poor to the state.
We also must acknowledge that welfare is charity that must be given with a glad heart. James 5:14-15 tells us that we should pray for the sick and anoint with oil, then faith will heal him, then God will forgive his sins. Luke 10:9 says to heal the sick, then the Kingdom of God will be near you.
So, I say to you, let the government distribute charity to those in need; you give spiritual aid. When a person is hurting, in physical pain, or when from a lack of food they have hunger pains, they cannot concentrate on other matters. First address the physical needs; once that is done, address the spiritual needs.
Do not try to keep the physical charity from them, as this is needed first, before healing of the soul.
Charity begins in your heart. As Christians, when we see suffering, we want to relieve that suffering. We must choose the best way to do that.
Giving an alcoholic cash will just enable him to buy more booze, but buying him a meal and setting him up with AA is true charity. Once his immediate needs are met, he will be more receptive to spiritual ministrations.
However, if we are unsuccessful in turning him away from drink, we still have the Christian obligation to meet his physical needs.
Some will turn away from our charity; that does not relieve us from our duty as Christians. Deuteronomy 15:11 tells us there will always be poor among us and that we should be charitable – providing food, shelter, love.