Friday, April 3, 2009

Charity Vs Greed

I have to say it has taken everything in me to continue my writing recently. I have gone the last several weeks to a place of discouragement and feeling lost. There has been no feeling of goodwill, kindness or wanting to give of myself. Which truthfully, is not like me. I am usually the glass half full kind of gal. But the last two weeks have been nothing but doom and gloom for me.

I finally figured out what the funk was all about. It was due to my age. Menopause is approaching and symptoms are abundant. At the first of this week I went to the doctor and got some much needed help. I am now at a much better place and ready to write my heart out for you.

Quite appropriately, I am full of charity and kindness toward others again. So how fitting that I would write today on just this subject. Isn't God good? Say it with me, "God you’re so good!"

Charity, what is it and how do we get it? Charity is the unlimited loving kindness towards others, the feeling or act of goodwill and affection. The kindness or leniency in judging others. A voluntary giving of money or help to those in need. A willingness to give or to be generous.

I don't know about you but I want to be charitable. I want to give and not just expect to get. To me it's the sign of a love filled heart. At least when we do it without trying to gain approval from others.

Matthew 6:1-4 says, take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Wow! When our heart is right and we give without wanting the approval of men, we are rewarded openly by our Father in heaven. We are not to go around tootin our own horn or boasting of how charitable we are. We are instead to be givers from the heart, with a motive of loving someone with our gift. It's not about us, it's about them. If we do our giving in secret, we are promised that the Father sees and will reward us so everyone will see it. People may not understand why we are being blessed by God. But it will certainly be evident to them that we are being blessed. We will know why that blessing has come though, it’s because of a loving and giving heart.

II Corinthians 9: 6-7 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

We are told that what we sow we will also reap. So if we give in only small amounts we will receive back in only small amounts. If we give with an open heart, not because we have to but because we want to, we will find that we get back in direct proportion to what we have given. If we give big we will get big.

Careful is the word that comes to mind after the last statement I just made. We must be careful not to expect to get. Yes, it does come, but it is a matter of the heart. If we only give to get in return, we are not giving with a generous heart. There must be no strings attached, a giving with no expectations of getting back. This is real charity at work.

If our heart is not a charitable one, we can fall prey to the vice at the opposite end of the spectrum. We can be filled with greed. To avoid it, we must know what it is. Greed: the excessive desire for getting or having. It is the desire for more than one needs or deserves. Often, it is also called avarice or covetousness.

Proverbs 1:19 - So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owner.

Luke 12:15 -And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.

Hebrews 13:5 - Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have, for He Himself has said "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Scripture tells us that greed is destructive and can fill our heart with wickedness. Proverbs even tells us it takes away the life of its owner. We are not to live for the things we possess. We are to instead be content with what we are given, however little or much.

Whatever our lot in life, whatever our circumstances, we are called to be content with what God has given us. We are not to strive and maneuver our way around to gain earthly possessions. We are instead called to a more kingly pursuit. A pursuit worthy to be given to the King of Kings when we arrive in heaven.

I will leave you today with this little story from Acts 9:36-43. At Joppa, there was disciple named Tabitha. We are told very little about this woman. Only that she was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. She became sick and died, so they washed her and laid her in the upper room. Peter just happened to be traveling in a nearby town and was called upon by two men that had come from Joppa to find him. Arriving there he went into the upper room. Encountering all the widows weeping, they began showing him all the garments Tabitha had made for them. Peter then sent everyone out, knelt down and prayed. Turning to the body he said, "Tabitha Arise". She opened her eyes and sat up.

Tabitha received that day more than what she had sown. Much more. She received life. She was a charitable woman, full of good works. A disciple of Christ. Yes, she gave much. She gave, not grudgingly, not because she had to, not because she expected anything in return but because of the love of Christ within her. When she needed it most, she was rewarded far beyond what could be imagined.

Once again, we end with a prayer.

Lord,

Take all greed from our hearts. Forgive us for wanting instead of giving. Help us to have hearts of charity, of the unexpectant and ungrudging kind. We want to look more like you each day Lord. If we are to do this we must change and it takes your power within us to do that. Change us; make us in your image. Use your power to create in us a heart of charitable kindness for others.

Amen

6 comments:

valerie lynn said...

Sherri! What an amazing post! I am so glad you are feeling better my friend. Life can throw you curves which we can't catch but God truly can. Giving to others is such an awesome feeling. It truly makes my heart glad to see someone smile! Blessings my friend!

Omah's Helping Hands said...

First off, glad to hear you are feeling better. Menopause is no fun. But, we all go through our trials for a reason. What a great post! Our Pastor has been talking on this very subject. Giving, being charitable, it's such a great feeling. Greed just makes one miserable. Hugs and blessings

cindyhan111 said...

Hello Sherri!
I too am glad you are well...

Thank you, a fabulous word here. I'd like to expand the thought here a little on greed and not giving it any creedance. When Christ was 'tempted' to think of himself, to save himself through the mouth of a disciple, the mouth of a friend, he said, "Get behind me Satan!" We too can choose to slough off greed into grace, gratitude and charity as you have said.
Surrender can make good friends to God. He spoke through you here. Once again, thank you. keep writing. I mean that! cindy

Beth in NC said...

Hi Sherri,

I am so glad you're feeling more like yourself again! It is amazing what hormones can do to us.

What a wonderful post friend!

Love,
b

Sherri Watt said...

Thank you all, I'm very glad I am feeling better too. Perimenopause is not fun but this was the first time I could not shake a feeling of depression. Believe it or not, they put me on birth control to regulate my hormones. It worked! YAH!!

I love you all bunches!!!

Hugs!

Charlotte said...

Hi Sherri,

Thank you for your article, it's so lovely and thought provoking and it does seem during these times that people are spending less time giving.

I thought you might be interested in this charity organization called Cheerful Givers. They've recently joined my company's website on www.thanksto.com.

Here's a link to their profile:
http://www.thanksto.com/profile/CheerfulGivers8059.html

and here's a link to their website:
www.cheerfulgivers.org

Their charity is all about giving, they give birthday bags full of gifts to children on their birthdays which I thought was a really sweet thing to do.

I wanted to help get them some more supporters so that's why i'm informing you about them and I hope that you and your visitors will click through to their website and support them as much as you can.

Charlotte