“Charity suffereth long, and is kind…is not easily provoked…Beareth all things… endureth all things.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4,5,7
The archaic translation of the KJV sounds funny to my ears. “Love” makes more sense to my modern ears. But the Holy Spirit began to woo my heart away from modern sensibilities and opened my eyes to the heart of God.
Today, when we think of “charity”, we think of giving to the poor and needy. Seldom does the word make us feel warm and fuzzy inside and cause us to desire face time with those we are closest to. But the word “charity” is an apt word that comes much closer to what Paul is writing about than our overused and undervalued “love.”
When you toss a dollar or two into the hat of a street person, you never expect that person to jump up and give you money back… Do you?
When you buy groceries to support a Food Pantry, you never expect the recipients to knock on your door with a bag of food for your family… Do you?
That is the heart of charity – loving without expecting anything in return. It is loving your spouse, children and friends all the while knowing that they have weaknesses and blind spots; knowing that they will let you down and cause you pain from time to time – yet loving them anyway.
I have taught this principle and felt good about it. But this week, the week we honor the sacrifice of Christ, I was challenged to dig a little deeper.
If you were walking down the street and the homeless person knocked you down, spit on you and smeared your face with trash, how likely would you be to put a dollar in their hat?
I can answer for myself: “Not very likely!” Yet our Lord and Savior went through the worst treatment imaginable, suffered long, bore it all, endured it all… all for Love. Love for you and me. Love that we can never repay.
And this is the love He desires that we extend to each other. When we do, we can rest assured that, whether we call it “charity” or “love”, it will never fail.
May your celebration of Easter be meaningful and rich in love…