The essence of Charity!

– The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one’s neighbors as objects of God’s love.

– Benevolence or generosity toward others or toward humanity.

The charity I am talking about is the King James version (KJV), unrequited love towards all men, not the one that is commonplace now, giving to score brownie points. The human ingredient of love in giving is the most important part of it, more than all the other factors put together. Also in the KJV version of the bible, the word charity is used in place of love.

Give early, give Always

I once read somewhere that charity is not throwing a bone to the dog but sharing a bone with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog. I am not suggesting that we need to get into an unenviable position to help others but that our own circumstances must not be a hindrance to acts of charity.

The excuse given my most people I know for their lack of charity is the hardships that they themselves are facing. They want to give back once they have more money and worse some even suggest that all the richer and more powerful people should practice charity before they do it themselves. The problems with this logic are that there is now set limit for more money and its all was the poor who give and not the rich. From experience I have come to realise that there is no limit to wanting more money, I am just as broke now as when I was earning 1/5th of what I earn now (With a definite increase in material possessions).

The only way to break out of this circle of waiting-to-give-when-you-have -more-money is to give when you have no money. I have my parents to thank for, for instilling in me the sense of charity by first practicing it in all circumstances and by initiating me into it even with the first real money I ever made (Incidentally it was an inconsequential amount won in quiz competition). It was also their persuasion that made me realise that if I didn’t give when I had the burden of the student and other loans, I wouldn’t give when I had no such burdens. There have been times when even some of my close friends have questioned my wisdom in giving when I could have used it to close all my debts and there were even times that I myself had doubts about my decision. But now that I look back on that decision, I am convinced without a iota of doubt that it was one of the best decision that I have ever made.

Its pretty simple to see why I wouldn’t have been able to give now if I didn’t give then, my needs and comforts have dramatically grown with my pay scale, giving them a run for their money, and anybody who has had the ‘privilege’ of knowing me would know that I am not given to moderation when it comes to the good things in life … oh what a waste it would have been!

Before you all start thinking that I am trying to blow my own horn, I am just trying to pass on some practical advice that I got, with a living proof in me. Of course it is not for everybody, but then again what is?

Give cheerfully

I had always wondered what Jesus had meant when he said God loves a cheerful giver, and then it struck me, that He was trying to make the point that people would remember the spirit and cheer in the gift long after the gift itself is forgotten. As I said earlier charity is more than monetary and material gifts, its the heart that makes the gift worth it. A kind word and a smile with your act of charity is of infinitely more value than just the act of charity alone. What the needy like all homo sapiens need more than money is a cheerful face that makes them feel wanted. It is the only need that cannot be bought, it has to be given.

The other more compelling reason for giving cheerfully is more self centered. For the only reward of KJV charity is happiness and contentment. As any financial advisor will tell you that the less you invest the less you get back, if your giving is cheerless, don’t expect any returns of happiness and contentment. Far worse, charity without cheerfulness looses itself.

Be good stewards

Some people think that giving is just to cut a check out to every Tom dick and Harry, which more often than not is foolish. It is your hard-earned money, so treat it the same way you would treat your own business dealings. Personally I keep track of all beneficiaries of my charity and have a goal to reach certain groups of people through education, maybe I could expand on it but for now I know my target group and that’s what each of us needs. Its always a good idea to have a field of focus, even Bill Gates is not capable enough of solving everyone’s problem. Try not to go with the crowd all the time (sometimes its prudent to ignore this), and focus on small issues that really get a hold of you and consume you with passion. The passion of a motivated heart is insurmountable.

The reason for being good stewards is pretty obvious, there are some rotten apples who are out to make a quick buck and some issues which may not really be an issue like the society to promote vegetarianism (I could be wrong about that ha-ha). It also ensures that Charity is available where its due and not in the back pocket of a conman. Also you don’t have to sow where somebody else already has already.

Be innovative

All the previous rules lean more towards material or monetary giving, so what if you can’t afford to give any such thing. There is always something to give in everybody no matter how high or how low you might be in the natural food chain. Time is more important than money and more often than not it is much more in short supply. I would love to spend more time on my passions but unfortunately I hold a job that consumes most of my time. Its always best to give what you have than to say that you have nothing to offer the world. Charity is not for the Bill gates of the world but also for the Toms and Dicks and Harries.

If you have money, give money;if teaching skills, then teach;if organising skills, then organise;if caring, then care; as the parts of the body are different and equaly important so are all these different forms of charity.

At the end, What you spend is forgotten, what is save is for somebody else but what you give is what remains, there are people who keep it all for themselves and become poor and those who give away everything and yet get richer.

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity(love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity(love)” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

While I am on this subject, just an update on the kids that come for the evening school run by “Falcon Foundation” in Chennai… It’s been great going so far and the number of kids has stayed constant so far, with a marked improvement in their academic abilities. Planning to get a few computers so they can start on it at a early stage. Also looking for other locations to start up a similar evening school and a adult education program. Soon you should be able to get more updates on it’s own website…. and no this is not a plea for money :). If you have any brighter plans for the slum kids talk to me ;).


2 thoughts on “The essence of Charity!

  1. Hermit

    Hats off brother..”the ripple effect”…keep it going..set an example..remember whom we serve..You cannot go wrong..It is blessed to give than to receive…One day, we will see the harvest with the King of Kings..until then, we just do everything our Master bids us to do..So spread the message..Those who have ears will hear, those who have eyes will see..Be a good soldier and fight the good fight until the end..With love as always..


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