I'd had a long day. I had to stop at the grocery store after work and hurry home to get dinner ready before our son had to be at his game. Leaving the store, I saw him at the light. A man was holding a sign. It probably said something like, "Out of work. Need food for family." They seem to be on every corner lately. I didn't have time to stop so I took another exit, relieving myself of the guilt of passing him by.
The Bible contains a parable that has a lot to say about charity. (Luke 10:25-37)
Explaining the "Love your neighbor as yourself" commandment, Jesus made it clear in the parable that loving your neighbor takes more than good thoughts or even prayer; it requires action. It is giving of yourself and sacrificing time and resources.
A man lay injured on the side of the road. Two Jewish holy men saw the injured man, crossed to the other side of the road, and went on their way.
A Samaritan saw the man and stopped to help. The Samaritans' heritage and religion was a mix of Jewish and Pagan; hence, the Jews despised them. This Samaritan was probably a busy man with places to go and business to attend to, but he went out of his way to care for the injured man. He bandaged the man's wounds and provided for his continued care. It does not say that the Samaritan was a rich man. I'm sure he had expenses of his own, as we all do, but he gave his money. He was being a good neighbor.
James tells us that it is our duty to look after orphans and widows in their distress. (James 1:27)
In Galatians we are told that we are not to become weary of doing good and we are to do good to all people as we have the opportunity. (Galatians 6:7-10)
Hebrews tells us that we are to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10)
- 1 billion children live in poverty (That's half the children in the world)
- 640 million live without adequate shelter
- 400 million have no access to safe water
- 270 million have no access to health services
- 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5.
- 20% of the population in the developed nations of the world, consume 86% of the worlds goods.
- In 1999, the 200 richest people in the world controlled $1 trillion. The combined incomes of the 582 million people living in the 43 least developed countries is only $146 billion.
God provides enough resources to feed and care for every person on this planet. The trouble is that the wealth is in the hands of the few and they (we) are not loving our neighbor. Instead, we cross the street and walk away.
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