Talk on Charity – God like Service
May I talk on Service and more specifically (Charity) for just a moment? Charity as we know – is the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:45-47). And, if we love Him we will keep His Commandments. So Charity is an action word, it defines how we should grow a relationship. Relationships are one of the things we take with us into the next life, especially our relation with God and Jesus Christ. Much like the statement ‘by their fruits ye shall know them’ our visible relationship fruits will prove if we exhibit charity or not.
I would like to mention three ways that service only (without charity) does not bear eternal relationship fruit. True God like service is different from just going through the actions of:
1. Giving something to someone,
2. Helping someone, OR
3. Fixing a problem for someone.
Let’s start with the act (or relationship) of just giving something to someone.
#1. When we only GIVE:
· The act of giving has an element of short satisfaction for the giver, however, if we only give not even expecting gratitude for the gift from the recipient – a serious unjust relationship takes place, for the giver and the recipient. Gratitude for any gift is necessary by the receiver. D&C 78:19 He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious.
· Just giving has an indebtedness associated with it.
· Giving with resentment can lead to bitterness, misjudgment on the part of the giver and cankering of the soul.
#2. When we only HELP:
- Helping has the relationship stigma of seeing the one helped as weaker than ourselves.
- The helper is of superior strength.
- We see life in terms of strong vs weak, young vs old, smart vs dumb, literate vs uneducated, successful vs failure, winning vs loosing.
- When we only help we become aware of our superiority and become puffed up.
- When we perform only helping functions our experience is one sided and there is no real growth especially spiritual growth.
- Helping only does not accommodate the healing process.
- We learn nothing from the one being helped – We may get a sense of satisfaction but no lasting experience of gratitude is felt or shared on either side.
- And, a helping relationship may incur a sense of debt.
#3. When we only FIX a person or a problem:
- In a fixer relationship, we see people and their problems as broken.
- We see brokenness everywhere. We see the world as broken.
- As we fix, we sit in judgment of others and their actions.
- As we fix others and their problems, we trust in our own abilities and our own expertise.
- If the only tool we have in our relationship bag is a fixit hammer – then every opportunity to serve looks like a nail to be hit.
When we SERVE using God’s law of Charity – Our relationships become eternal:
- Service becomes a relationship between equals. We grow to love those we serve.
- God’s Charitable Service is free from debt.
- As we serve we recognize our weaknesses, then, with help, they can become our strengths.
- As we extend Christ’s Love through us, our limitations give us compassion and humility.
- As we serve our faith grows and our relationship with God improves. We love our Savior more and we can keep His commandments better than before.
- In true service we gain a trust in a power greater than ourselves.
Definition of SERVICE: True service is not a relationship between an expert and a problem: it is far more genuine. It’s a relationship between people who bring the full resources of their humanity and love of God to the table and share them generously. Service goes beyond expertise. Service is another way of life.
C. S. Lewis talks about Charity. I’ll take a few statements from “Mere Christianity”:
We are not excused from the duty of learning charity. The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of life’s great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him or at the very least, dislike him less. This must be done, however, by obeying God’s law of Charity. A Christian man using the spiritual law of charity, tries to treat everyone kindly and therefore finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on – including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.
So is it the Natural man or the Charitable man that we seek in this life and take with us into the next?
No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. (3Ne. 13:24)
Song to ponder: Because I have been give much, Hymn #219:
The 3rd Verse states: Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord, I’ll share thy love again, according to thy word. I shall give love to those in need; I’ll show that love by word and deed: Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.