Charity begins at home – that was one of my mum’s sayings when I was growing up. It was used whenever she thought I was spending too much time “at that church” (my family weren’t church members, but as children we were sent to Sunday School).
In reality, my mum was a very generous person, always ready to help anyone who needed it. She simply thought I was getting too committed to an organisation she didn’t altogether approve of.
Today’s extract from Nouwen (well all right then, yesterday’s – but I was poorly yesterday so am blogging a day late on this one!) made me remember my mum’s motto because he speaks of generosity. It also made me remember the parable of the Good Samaritan.
“Charity begins at home” begs the question “where is my home?”. In my childhood it was used to mean “family comes first” – but that then begs the question “who is my family?”. and Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in response to the question “who is my neighbour?”.
The long and the short of it is that everyone is my family, everyone is my neighbour, the world is my home. To live with that awareness is very challenging. Am I truly willing to have a little less so that others can have a little more? It’s all too easy to look at the so-called “fat cats” who have so much more than me and who appear to have it at my expense and to react by clinging to what I do have and ignoringthe plight of those who have less than I do. Such self-serving often, if not always, has it’s roots in fear. And as always, the antidote lies in allowing the perfect love of Jesus for us to evaporate the fear. And the more we realise the enormity of His love for us, the more we will be able to respond with equal generosity to others. And even those who are far more affluent than us – even those “fat cat bankers” – may need our generosity. They may well be rich in financial terms yet in real need of friendship, of comfort, of peace.
And on a lighter note… no Christmas season, surely, is complete without Disney…
It is indeed a small world – and our great God loves all his children and longs for us to love one another as He loves us.
And here are other people posting on the Advent Book Club: