You may have said giving money to various organizations or people.
Dropping off canned goods, clothing, or blankets to a homeless shelter.
Donating your time or skills for the betterment of society.
People who need charity may be completely destitute, or simply be a single mom with several kids who works three jobs and is trying to make it. The social definition of charity spans a gap wide as the type of people who need it.
The Biblical mindset of charity is different than today. It is more encompassing and expansive in the emotion of the word.
The Hebrew word for charity is tzedakah.
The concept of this term is heart and action going hand in hand.
To view charity as plain generosity is like saying football in the south is just a sport.
If you are not from the south first let me apologize God put you somewhere else. Second, in the south football is not a sport. It’s a way of life.
Tzedakah comes from the root tzedek, meaning justice or righteousness. It is a picture of righteous behavior by a person. Tzedakah is doing things for others to help create a just and kind world.
This concept goes beautifully with what Jesus said was the greatest commandment.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40
We love God by loving others.
You were created for relationship.
You were created to love, and help, and encourage God’s people.
You were created to live out Tzedakah.
Do you know giving is one of the 613 commandments in the Bible? Sure, it didn’t make Moses “Top Ten” list, or the title of the “Greatest Commandment” but it is in there several times.
Many early sages before Jesus taught tzedakah was the most important commandment. In bible times it wasn’t an option to live out tzedakah. It was expected.
Tzedakah is showing love for your fellow man by joyfully helping when he is in need. With this mindset, the recipient is considered to be helping you out by accepting your kindness. In allowing you to be kind, he is empowering you to show God’s love through your actions.
He is letting you live out your faith.
I love it when God’s word takes our understanding of things and turns it upside down. We view charity as helping others from our abundance. It’s more than that.
Charity ultimately is about the heart of the giver… not the need of the recipient.