I’ve talked about “charity” before; and thought that I might expand on the issue. I think of CHARITY, like an “inverted Christmas Tree,”…. “Up-side-down-tree.” … Imagine your first real “charitable act, came in the form of “getting married,” and the 2nd one, might be having your first child.
Springing from these two acts (like the limb on a Christmas tree) would be providing well for your wife (beginner house, a decent car, and other necessary provisions), all ACTS of Charity. Next, providing for the 2nd child, and then providing “life insurance and educational” plans, and soon, their first bicycle, or car, etc. As we progress “up the inverted tree,” we keep “branching outside”…the “family-unit,” to work related, social, and community Charities.
We keep EXPANDING the width and breathe of our Charitableness, also going in an “upward and wider spiral”…. And, Soon, our Charity becomes a… BURDEN, not only financially, but our SPIRITUALITY is being CHALLANGED, and then…. something ELSE comes into play. The “something else,” you realize is NOT of “your own” doing. God has entered the process; adding another ELEMENT to the burdensome process of being Charitable. Most of our Charitableness, until now, is “because we had to,” or it was EXPECTED, or maybe our employer required our participation (very common in the banking industry). Now God has COMPLICATED our “charitable program,” or maybe…. He’s really COMPLEMENTING it.
Maybe God is “adding to your” Charitableness. The Holy Spirit is asking: Are you “giving your Time, Talent, and Treasure… because it’s expected?” Or, are you giving because you have a real “want to,” in your HEART? The “want to,” is the very FACTOR that “changes the entire NATURE of GIVING”….because now, you’re giving from the HEART. One can have all the MONEY of Bill Gates, the BRAINS of Einstein, the WISDOM of Solomon… and give it “all to charity,” BUT if it’s out of OBLIGATION and NOT out of LOVE, then…. as far as God is concerned… it gets you not “one point” in Heaven. Only GIFTS from the HEART, out of the truest LOVE….will have meaning in Heaven.
That is the “way” that Jesus did it when He died on the Cross for our sins. Using the “inverted Christmas tree” comparison again, HE gave it His ALL….all at once; but with ONE important EXCEPTION. Jesus started from the “first layer;” of the Christmas tree. He started from the “top” of the upside-down-Christmas-tree; from the “broadest of branches,” and then looking…. all the way to the bottom (actually the top) of the tree…. Is YOU. “Sacrificing His Life” (Charity) was for all of mankind…ZAP…all at once. And, simultaneously, Jesus ZEROED-IN on “just YOU.”
It’s one of God’s mysteries; no different than those outlined in scripture. God is still doing miracles… even today. We NEED to emulate Jesus… more… Christ-like. When God created us, He gave us His Image, His ways, His …. Charitableness. In “His LOVE,” for us… both COLLECTIVELY, and INDIVIDUALLY…. He made the most CHARITABLE Acts of LOVE… ever expressed…..by sacrificing His Son’s Life so that we might have life-ever-lasting, with Him.
The Holy Spirit reminds us….to “give out of LOVE,” not out of obligation. True Charitable giving… has no conditions… no EXPECTATIONS…. Only Love for our neighbor, and for the Love and Adoration of Our Lord God, Jesus Christ. Being saved is not a question of how good we are, or the good deeds (Charity) we do, or if we have been baptized; but rather, if we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior? Those whom God saves and gives eternal life, are those who have confessed before God; realized they were guilty of sinning against God; and asking Him to forgive and save them. Because they believed and asked for God’s forgiveness they can be assured of their SALVATION.
God says in order to go to heaven and to have peace in our lives, we must be “born again.” In John 3: a religious, but unsaved Jewish Pharisee, called Nicodemus, approached Jesus seeking truth. While Nicodemus was morally good and very religious; his faith was seated in his good works and religious acts. Like many of us, he was trusting in his own works to get him to heaven. Jesus explained to him that in order to be saved, “Ye must be born again.” This meant that Nicodemus needed to be spiritually re-born and put his faith in Jesus Christ and not (only) his works of CHARITY. God tells us that the only way a person can be “born again” is to believe.
Jesus said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The next time I give to Charity…. I will be EXAMINING my “intentions” thoroughly. ….Blessings….cjlb… 4/7/15.
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