You’re just sitting down to your evening meal when the doorbell rings; you go to the door and there is a personable young woman or man who immediately launches into a persuasive appeal for a national charity. The next morning when the post arrives it brings two or three appeals for different charities – one of which you already support. ‘Charity’ is big business nowadays and as such can seem to be about nothing but money – and rather off-putting.
But, of course, charity is much more that that. Still. At bottom charity is about the way we all depend on each other and consideration for each other (as well as for animals and the environment). Charity is as important as it ever was because it is one way of being kind, being thoughtful, being loving. People do need help and charity (even big charities) can be a way of getting to them.
Because there are so many charities around it does help if we are organised in our giving; if we have thought which charities we are going to support. Then we can support them while not supporting others with a clear conscience. No one can respond to every appeal.
Charity, though, is not just about money, giving in that sort of a way. It is about the way we are with each other right through. We can be charitable to one another in a thousand ways, not least by being generous in our judgement: what we say about others and how we say it. We can give ourselves and of ourselves in all kinds of ways. This month (November) we specifically remember people who made the greatest act of charity, of self giving that any of us could – “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.
Revd Oliver Folkard