That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Charitable Spirit

The girls Sunday School class at my church has been doing a study on Charity over the last several months.  My Mom and I take turns with teaching the class.

Many people talk about love today.  Christians talk about how God is love.  How God loves us so much.  How God just wants us to love people.  We should love, because He loves us. Love, love, love.  It's all warm and fuzzy and wonderful and nice.

In comparison, I don't hear as much talk about Charity.  I wonder why that is?

It's easy to love.  It's easy to talk about love.  It's easy to feel something.  It's harder to do, and charity is ALL about doing.  Charity is really love in action.  The study we are doing is teaching us that a charitable spirit must be a part of every aspect of our lives.  That's hard, because that goes way beyond just talk and feeling!

I love how Jesus puts it in Matthew 23:23
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay the tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and ye have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

What Jesus is saying here, as that the Pharisees were wrong, not because they tithed, but because they kept the easy parts of the law and neglected the things that were harder.  For me, having a charitable spirit ALL the time is much the same.  It's easy to say I love someone, but it's more difficult to let that charity extend to every part of my life.

A charitable spirit is the opposite of selfishness.  Charity always thinks of others and never thinks of self.  Charity should be present in our actions, speech, interactions with people, and manners.  We need to be charitable at home, at work, at school, and in public.  I think the easiest way to practice having a charitable spirit is always to ask the question, "Is this what I want, or is this putting others before myself?"

I thought I would make a list of some ways to show charity day to day.  I've included things that can apply to children, adults, married people, single people, and hopefully we can all find a way to be a bit more charitable this week.  Feel free to comment and leave your own suggestions.

1.  Hold the door for someone.
2.  Smile at the clerk in Wal-mart and say "thank you".
3.  Say "thank you" at the drive-thru when you order your coffee.  Bonus: give the cashier a tract :)
   *I used to work at Tim Horton's and you would be surprised at how few people actually say thank you! And no one every gave me a tract.
4.  Don't have road rage! (this is a hard one for me)
5.  Sincerely, complement your boss on his/her outfit.
6.  Let the guy buying only one item go in front of you and your FULL cart at the grocery store.
7.  Say "good morning" to someone you pass on your daily walk around the block.
8.  Bring baked goods (or if you're like me and NEVER bake, Tim-bits) to work and share.
9.  Clean up the kitchen for your mom... without being asked.
10.  Do a chore in your house that normally belongs to someone else.
11.  Leave a bigger tip at the restaurant if the server was extra helpful.  Bonus: TELL them they were a good server.  BONUS, bonus: give them a tract and invite them to church.
12.  Just smile :)
13.  Talk to the person at work or at school that is quiet and shy and doesn't seem to have too may friends.
14.  Send a nice card to someone: friend, family, missionary.  Tell them you are praying for them and then pray for them!

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