Charity or Justice?

It’s that time of year again, where goodwill prevails and charity abounds. It seems like you can’t turn around without someone asking you for a donation. And while you’d love to help people who need food or heat this time of year, you’re also right in the middle of buying a bunch of Christmas presents. After all, charity begins at home, right?

Actually, if you look at the Bible, charity doesn’t begin anywhere. In English, charity means a voluntary donation. The better translation of the Hebrew, however, would be “justice.” In God’s view, helping the poor is not optional. It’s not something you do if you’re having a good day or end up with a little extra cash.

God does not just rule the strong. He is the protector of the weak as well. As His followers, it is our responsibility to see that all of God’s children have, at the very least, the basic necessities of life. That is justice.

Depending on what God has gifted you with, your justice might take on different forms. It might mean giving money to the Salvation Army. It might mean volunteering at your local food pantry. It might mean getting involved with programs designed to help people get on their feet and support themselves. You might feel drawn to spending time with the elderly, or you might prefer hanging out with kids in poor home situations.

The possibilities are endless. God gives us lots of options for how we can use the talents and resources He has given us. The only option He doesn’t give us is the option of doing nothing.

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