We laid a foundation for this teaching in the previous module where a number of questions on charity were raised and the scripture describing charity was presented.
In this module we shall begin by looking at the definition of charity.
Charity was used several times in scriptures (especially in the King James version).
Looking at it’s usage we can draw out its definition as it applies to biblical times and our world today.
Charity is an expression of love towards others with a view to meet their needs which may be material, emotional or spiritual.
Unlike other expressions of love which may not necessarily be expressed in meeting a need, charity focuses on meeting a need in someone else’s life.
Charity is therefore not passive but active in its expression.
It meets a need (a material need, an emotional need or a spiritual need) through the giving away of oneself to help another.
I could love someone but may not be in any position to meet such a person’s need.
This love is in it’s potential form but not yet in it’s active form. This love will be unleashed as charity if the opportunity finally shows up to meet a need in the person’s life.
God loved the world but this agape love was expressed as charity when He gave Jesus to die for the world so we can be saved.
God showed us charity by solving our need for salvation in Christ Jesus.
God gave what He had so we can have what we needed even when He knew we could reject His gift.
This was charity in full display.
Looking at 1Cor 13:3, we see something that looks abnormal.
I Cor. 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
How can I give all my goods to feed the poor or give my body to be burned and yet not have charity?
This tells us volumes about charity.
Charity is not just meeting people’s need but meeting their needs with a motive rooted in love.
For example, I can meet people’s needs so they will vote for me to become the Governor of a State.
I can die for others with a motive to be a National hero. Helping those in need was not my drive but being honored as a national hero was.
An expression of help to others rooted in selfishness is not charity no matter the level of sacrifice involved.
A motive drawn out of sacrifice, selflessness, commitment and deep compassion that moves us to help those in need is what makes our help charity.
Many of us have helped others but at the core of our intentions was ourselves.
May God deliver us from this in Jesus name amen.
To be continued….