Whenever I come across Christians arguing over the relevance of charity, I cringe. Charity is as important as giving offerings in Church. In fact, charity and the gospel go hand in hand. Throughout Jesus’s ministry on earth, charity majored in his daily activities.
You can’t separate charity from ministry. Maybe, ministry of commerce, but not the Christian ministry.
We have no single excuse as believers in Christ Jesus to make light of charity. One of the evidence that our hearts have really been set on fire for God is when we are unrestrained towards helping others, especially the needy. We are supposed to look at the poor, the sick and the vulnerable with compassion.
If we want to know how God sees the sick, the poor and the vulnerable, we need to look at Jesus. Jesus is full of compassion, he stood in the gap for the vulnerable and we need to imitate him.
“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”- Matthew 5:16 NLT
Charity is another form of worship and honour to God. Whenever your good deeds shine out for all to see, the witnesses are prompted to praise God! When you help others, you are like the extension of God’s outstretched arm, you are the channel through which God answers the prayers of others.
It is great to heal the sick and raise the dead, it is beautiful! But we also feed the poor, we speak up for the vulnerable and stand in the gap for them. Many times, Christians who make light of charity are very self-centred and not truly sincere.
Your engagement in charity showcases your readiness to partner with God in reaching lives. You are God’s vessel unto honour, he wouldn’t need to come down and do what you can do. If we have truly become as he is, the welfare of others will take priority.
Let’s see what the Bible says
“For I was hungry, and you fed me… Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? … “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’- Matthew 25:35-40 NLT
God takes what we do for the poor personal, it is like touching the heart of God. Giving to the poor is how to give to God, he recognises it as an offering too! Let’s see what the Angel of God said concerning Cornelius and his philanthropy
“Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!” – Acts 10:4 NLT
When we give to the poor, God refers to himself as the recipient of our giving! In Proverbs, we see something similar
“If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord — and he will repay you!”- Proverbs 19:17 NLT
How do we partner with God?
We partner with God by
- By reconciling men with God through the gospel of Jesus.
- By giving to charity using the resources God has blessed us with.
As believers, we have the Spirit of God in us and therefore we should be burning every now and then with a heart of love towards the vulnerable. This is the heartbeat of God! Charity is God’s business, he is directly involved because he knows the plights of the poor! It is not something we do out of convenience, it should be something we do specifically.
Yes, we will always have the poor in our midst and that is why they will always be our responsibility; at least, to the best that we can do. Since ages past, God has been consistent in encouraging us to reach out to the poor!
“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.”- Isaiah 58:10 NLT
Whether people are poor for the fault of theirs or not, it is not our business, our business is to reach out to them. When Paul met with the supposed pillars of the early Church, James, Peter and John, the only thing they reminded Paul of were concerning the affairs of the poor. Let’s read:
“In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews. Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.”- Galatians 2:9-10 NLT
Do you see that? Helping the poor was one of the core values of the early Church. We are never to make light of it now, we are never to think poor people are poor because of their inadequacies and lack of skills. Jesus didn’t ask us to judge them for being poor, we were asked to take care of them.
Like it or not, the poor people (especially in the family of believers) is the responsibility of the Church just as it is our responsibility to reach souls and win them to Christ!
In the time past and now, millions of souls have been won merely on the basis of charity! Live up to your calling!