WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing International Day of Charity, the misconceptions perceived on what charity is, and what the Bible teaches is the true picture of charity – involving not just giving, but sacrifice.
And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity.
September 5 was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 to be observed as the International Day of Charity. The date was selected to coincide with the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death on September 5, 1997. The native of Macedonia spent most of her adult life working in the slums of Calcutta, India, loving and caring for destitute people for whom no one else evidenced concern.
What Charity Is Not
The concept of charity has become so watered down that we generally think of “charity” as an organization that provides necessities of life to people who are suffering from perpetual poverty or trying to survive in the wake of a disaster.
While not entirely wrong, neither is the concept of an organized institution altogether correct. In fact, thinking of charity in this context can lull people into a lazy paradigm that leaves charitable work up to an “institutional other” to which they donate goods or funds as a way to “do our part.” Charity may then be perceived as a person or a group with their hand out seeking donations for their cause.
The thought process is based on determining what we own that we are willing to give to help. We are careful to account for what we offer because we mistakenly believe it to be ours.
What Charity Is
When we say that the concept of charity has been watered down, we refer to 1 Corinthians 13:13 where the Apostle Paul said, “And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
The word translated as “charity” here is “agape,” a love that places the interest and good of others above our own. Note that it is not limited to either their current or chronic needs but to their overall well-being at all times and in all circumstances.
This perspective is based upon understanding that we own nothing, that all we have is a gift from God and is intended to be used for Him and His purposes. True charity — agape love — moves our giving from the realm of mere donation to the higher plain of sacrifice.
Charity at Gospel for Asia
Whether in Asia or at any of the GFA administrative offices across the globe, GFA staff have their hearts set, individually and corporately, on loving the unloved and the unlovely, serving the unserved, offering hope to the hopeless, feeding the hungry, encouraging the downtrodden, and becoming the hands and feet that demonstrate the love of Jesus.
Yes, it takes financial support to accomplish GFA’s purposes, but our prayer is that the gifts given always flow from hearts that give in agape love. This is what charity truly is, taking our minds off ourselves to be a blessing to others.