Charity is Washing Dishes

I recently received a Thank You card in the mail from my church thanking me for a donation I gave to support a mission group coming to visit my church this Summer. A group of young people, and well they have to eat and we are going feed them. I didn’t give a donation for the thank yous but that was nice to get in the mail, I gave because it is what I do.

My grandfather told me once, “Charity starts where you are If you have time to give, give it. If you have money to share, share it. If you have food to cook, cook it and invite someone who don’t have food to eat with you. If someone else cooks you do the dishes.”  My grandfather was a mechanic with a wife and five kids. I am pretty sure he didn’t have any of those things to spare, but he did give, share and wash a lot of dishes.

Charity doesn’t have to be a big production of looking at your budget of money and time to see if you can manage to get by without it. Charity is action. If you think you should, help then you should do it. It can be a simple as handing someone half of your sandwich or washing a plate.  I have never understood why the words charity, stewardship and tithing scare Christians so much. Or why when those words are spoken in some churches there is a collective groan in the congregation.

Get over it people!

Jesus said to comfort and take care of each other. That is what we should do. Not for the recognition but because it is right. Sure, the thank yous make us feel good but that is not the point. We are to reflect Christ, and he feed, healed, clothed and loved people. Christians, real Christians, do the same and grab the dish towel too.

Giving and Compassion

I am thinking Christmas will be different this year. I want to teach my family a lesson about giving, compassion, and charity. Christianity is about having a servant heart. Christmas isn’t just celebrating the birth of Christ, it is about celebrating being a mirror of Christ.The spirit of Christmas is giving. How can we teach our children how to be generous and compassionate if we are not generous and compassionate?

I could at this point go into a rant about the commercialization of Christmas but you have all heard that complaint before. It is more than Santa with a sleigh full of toys, ho ho ho and all that jazz. It is about day in day out giving that seems to be lacking in our society. Our children see the latest gizmo on television and demand that we, parents, grandparents buy it for them. We encourage the behavior with a letter to Santa. We tend to forget about the closet full fo toys and gadgets that they have already demanded and received all year-long.

We as a society want our children to have nice things, to have what their friends have and to be happy to the point that we are sacrificing their generosity for others. We are not teaching them that it is better to give than to receive. We say to them, be a cheerful giver, as we hand them the next greatest toy since the bicycle. What do our children do to deserve all this wealth? Good grades, good behavior, good manners, yes sometimes but be honest with yourself. How many times have you given in to the tantrum and the “But Mommy. please???” face that you child laid on you with an extra dose of guilt because you had to work on their birthday or missed some other event that earned you the bad parent award.

As a result of years of this pacifying our children with toys and things, we have a society of your adults who are focused on self. They care more about their bottom line in the check book than the homeless guy sleeping on the side of the road. For our society to prosper this greed that is rampant in our culture must change. We see it in our children and in the adults they become. We must teach them to follow Christ and give all they have, not focus on what they can get out of us. How do we teach them to be giving and compassionate? We teach them by example.

What if we as a society as a whole gave all we have?

I challenge you to give. Give until it hurts, give until you have nothing left to give, give until you know that you must rely on God to go another day forward.

Give of your money, food, clothing, belongings, talent and time. All that we have belongs to God anyway. Nothing we own is truly ours in the first place. Give to those who need. Give out of the compassion of your heart. Do not give because someone tells you that it is what you should do, give your heart, love, money time, everything to honor God, to mirror Jesus. Give because He commands us to give.

This is the lesson I want for my family this holiday season. This is the gift I want to give them.

If you do this with me,  I guarantee your life will change. Your children will change and compassion will rule in your life.