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Charity begins at home

December 1, 2011

As a fundraiser these are words that I can’t stand. Not because we shouldn’t support charities local to us, but because it is almost always an excuse not to give!

The New Testament encourages us to give, and to be generous. But the bar is raised from supporting our family and friends. Jesus tells us that he will judge, not on how many friends we have (on twitter or in real life), or on how religious we have been, but on how we treat the poor, the outcast, the prisoner. “what you have done to the least of one of these , you have done to me”

He underlines or responsibility to care for others…

But this does not fit easily with those who teach that we should bring our offering into “the house of the Lord” / Church, and the Church is then to support the poor. Firstly that removes us from personal involvement . {Jesus does not say “what you church did to the least of these… you have done to me”}, but secondly it removes our responsibility, we are stewards. We are free to give “as we decide in our heart” 2 Cor 9, and “to every good work”.

We are responsible to give, and to do it secretly (Matthew 6:4). So none of these passages point us towards giving and supporting the poor being a church corporate responsibility – although nothing excludes this as well. Rather we are confronted with the reality of an up close and personal responsibility for supporting the poor and the oppressed.

New testament giving principle number 4:

We have absolute freedom to give as much or as little as we choose to whoever we want, whenever we want.

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