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Question -- What word is mentioned 114 times in the New Testament -- but only two times in the Gospels?

Answer -- Love/Agape Love. When Jerome undertook translating the Greek New Testament into Latin, there was no word in the Latin language for Agape Love; so he chose the next-best word, Caritas, which translated into English as Charity. In today's world, charity's meaning is "the act of giving one's money, food, or other kinds of help to people in need."

The best definition of charity comes from Paul's first letter to the Corinthian Christians (1 Corinthians 13).

Charity is PATIENT. Whenever we give to those in need, we should not expect instant results, or even a "Thank you." We should also remember what Jesus said: "As long as we live in a sinful society, we will always have the poor and needy among us."

Charity is KIND, courteous. We must treat every person with respect as a child-of-God.

Charity is NEVER ENVIOUS. Love never tries to out-give someone else or envies what another might give.

Charity is NEVER BOASTFUL, never prides itself, or calls undue attention, to what one gives or does. Charity is not rude or arrogant, does not look down on the poor and needy, or think that the giver is better than the receiver.

Charity does not INSIST ON ITS OWN WAY. We, like God, should give with no strings attached. One should give because it is the right thing to do and one should expect nothing in return.

Charity is NEVER RESENTFUL. We must never judge or prejudge those in need; because we don't know why or how they came to be in their situation.

Charity NEVER ENDS. As long as God gives to us and blesses us, we are to share our gifts and blessings with others.

So make Charity your aim in life! Recognize that all we have belongs to God. We are to use wisely and well the resources that God has given us. Our aim should always be (1) to help people become independent and self-sufficient; (2) to aid people in becoming less dependent on handouts, free stuff and Government aid; (3) to expect positive responses from those who receive, such as a simple "thank you," a desire to take personal responsibility for their own lives, or to add something to life rather than always taking something from life.

The great thing is that the Holy Spirit will guide us in where we give, how we give and the amount of aid we give. And remember -- God loves a cheerful and a generous giver! Praise be to a most generous God!

Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 02/08/2018

Print Headline: God Is Charity

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