What Charity REALLY Means
“Let all your things be done with charity.” - 1 Corinthians 16:14 (KJV)
This past Sunday as we neared the end of our “Give Up Something Bad for Lent” series, we talked about God’s Kingdom of Grace and God’s Economy of Mercy - a much different way of living than the pettiness that pervades our current world.
There’s one thing I wanted to add to this that there just wasn’t enough time to explore on Sunday morning - charity.
Now, charity has come to mean something quite different from what it used to mean. In fact, you can’t even find the word in a modern translation of scripture - I had to go back to the King James Version!
In today’s language, “charity” is the pittance we hand out to panhandlers. A “Charity” is an organization that gives stuff to the poor or needy. But at it’s root, charity comes from the same Greek word as what we translate as “grace” - charis. And throughout the New Testament, if we go back to the King James and other older translations, charity shows up in place of the word we usually use today - love.
So, practically speaking, let me offer this to you: one of the best ways for us to give up pettiness, is to listen to each other with ears of love. To say it a little differently, we should offer up a charitable ear to the people we encounter.
If we’re always looking to split a hair, find a fault, or examine the issues to nit-pick… well, we’ll find something to argue about. If, on the other hand, we listen to each other with a charitable ear, for what their heart is meaning, for what they’re trying to say, understanding that whether we are alike or not, we are all beloved children of God, then we will find pettiness melt away. If we can listen to each other with a charitable ear, regardless of what side of the “fence” or “aisle” or “issue” we may think we stand on, we will be one step closer to embodying God’s Kingdom, here on earth.
As we walk through Holy Week, marching to the glorious celebration of Easter in just four days, let’s continue to offer those within our community and especially those without, a charitable ear.
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,