GGPR: Charity

GGPR, “God’s Great Passions Realized,” is the most succinct way I know to express the purpose of existence. From time to time, I’ll explore these great, mysterious passions and contemplate their transmission through new creations whose hearts, thanks to Christ’s initiation of the New Covenant, long to live them out.

Prepare for Impact

God loves the voluntary, sacrificial meeting of needs. The sense of conscience that leads some to care for orphans or the homeless or the disabled may find its source in him. His surrender of his Son for a needy world certainly does. And his Scriptural revelation of himself readily discloses a heart of charity:

“It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.” Hosea 11:3-4

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:35-36

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:3-4

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

If you’re a believer, please deliberate here. Mull over a God who is passionate about charity.

Begin Transmission

A believer is a new creation whose heart of stone has been exchanged for a heart replete with God’s passions (Jer. 33:33) that insists on their expression (Ez. 36:26-27). Community is God’s safeguard to protect this transmission from the residual effects of the fall. Dream with me of God’s great passion for charity expressed in these four areas:

  • Your Private Life. Pray for opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. Ask God to reveal where your selfishness is abusing gifts that were given to you for others. Thank God for his charity. Study his charity in the Bible.
  • Your Circles of Influence. Continue to exercise patience with the kids. Extend an olive branch to a spouse. Become more aware. Listen to discover hidden needs of co-workers, the cashier at the store, the guys at the gym. Strive to meet those needs.
  • Your Church Family. Find out whether your church has a benevolence fund or committee. Find out who has been requesting assistance and help them directly. Ask your pastor or priest of others who really need some help. Pay attention to who is currently unemployed and secretly assist them. Do everything you possibly can for single mothers. Help children and youth who can’t afford to participate in church activities. Look out for the needs of the senior saints.
  • A Needy World. Pay attention to world news. Read publications like Voice of the Martyrs that uncover needs of persecuted believers. Ask God where he would have you help relieve the suffering that so many endure. Send a check. Sacrifice a luxurious vacation to live out your charity passion in India or Haiti or some urban center here in America.

This is just a list. Listen to your heart. Perhaps you should write these four headings on your notepad or your computer screen and ask God to help you fill them in yourself. But always filter your heart’s leading through a community of God-fearing believers. Then act.

Below are some ideas how a partnership like Riverbend might facilitate the realization of these passions:

  • Gatherings. Preach about God’s passion for charity and point out where the fall may hinder its expression. Make the congregation aware of opportunities to exercise charity. Provide opportuities for the congregation to donate money to worthy causes.
  • Events. Engineer opportunities for the body to collectively meet needs–work projects, social services partnerships, etc.
  • Communities. Adopt needy families–meet financial needs, provide opportunities for spiritual growth, maintain communication, etc. Openly share attempts to act charitably. Provide mutual accountability to overcome tendencies toward selfishness.

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~ by shad on March 1, 2009.

9 Responses to “GGPR: Charity”

  1. Hey I love this blog. I can see the time and effort put into this.. Thanks!

  2. Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

    ______________________________
    Don’t pay for your electricity any longer…
    Instead, the power company will pay YOU!

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I have been mulling over it a little bit at a time today–there’s a lot here, particularly in the thought-processes about personal areas of influence!

    One question–I wondered if you can shed any light on how what you described under communities about “sharing attempts to act charitably” aligns with the Matthew 6 passage about not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing? I struggle with finding the balance sometimes.

  4. Hey Nicole, glad I could trigger some reflection. There clearly isn’t a problem with sharing how God has been working through us. That’s the idea of rejoicing with those who rejoice. I think of the disciples sent out in Acts 9 with authority over demons, only to return in Acts 10 excitedly proclaiming, “even the demons are subject to us!” It’s excited reporting.

    The context of Matthew 6 is that of proudly boasting of one’s righteousness: “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them”; “do not announce it with trumpets”; “to be honored by men.” So long as we exercise discernment and ask ourselves, “why do I want to share this?” we’re on the right track. It’s part of that lifelong process of monitoring our motives. It’s akin to the phrase you used, “finding the balance.”

  5. …and single moms with kids who have special needs. Thanks for practicing what you preach! 🙂

  6. Thanks sis. Wish I could do more for you guys.

  7. So glad to read this today. I just wrote about this to some women in a frugal fellowship I lead about cutting back/being frugal even when you don’t have to/can afford not to be in order to bless others by sending them the difference. I’m going to link them to this post, if you don’t mind. : )

    After all these years, Shad, I’m still so blessed to be learning from you.

  8. Hey, great to hear from you. It’s funny that so many of us consider every minute on our watch and every dollar that runs through our fingers as our own. In reality, we’re just the stewards. We need some of that to cover our operating expenses, but far less than we think. The less we keep, the more we can give. Glad you’re in the fight.

  9. Thanks for the follow-up. Assessing my true motives can be really difficult . . . I guess it comes back to love in a way.

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