WebDef: Charity

Charity /CHerədē/ – Noun: The voluntary provision of help or relief.

By charity, we often mean acting selflessly for the betterment of others. However, the word can also be used in to mean an institution or organization that exists to provide such help. It can also refer to an outlook, regarding the relationship between self and others.

Moses Maimonedes, a Jewish scholar and physician of blessed memory, divided the levels of charity as follows:

  • The giver gives unwillingly.
  • The gives willing but with much fanfare.
  • The giver gives willingly and in secret.
  • The giver provides a transformative gift that helps recipient overcome need for charity.

The website www.charitynavigator.org provides independent ratings of charitable organizations, and is a good resource to use when working to allocate your charitable donations wisely. They also offer a fascinating series of "top 10" articles, such as "10 charities routinely in the red," "10 charities expanding in a hurry" and more.

The Bible on Charity

The Bible is filled with verses on charity. It is hard to find a page without at least one. Here, the prophet Isaiah rings in on the subject:

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day… (Isaiah 58:6-10)

What are WebDefs?

WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.

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