When we give charitably, we give in order to help someone in need. We hope to, in some way, alleviate the suffering of another. Certainly, your gift to Orchard: Africa accomplishes this; a child is no longer hungry, an orphan is comforted, a terminally sick person receives care or a church leader is encouraged. Your gift, your compassion, your charity makes this possible. There is another aspect of charity that perhaps you don’t often think about. I serve and lead daily in the world of “charity”. It therefore behooves me to give thought to this: how charity affects your soul. Your giving affects the souls of others but it also affects yours and I give a great deal of thought to this. The scriptures are full of encouragement not only to give, but about the way we are to give. Take for example Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” We are (a) to give, (b) to listen to our heart about what to give (c) not have to be coerced into giving but do so willingly (d) to be positive about giving. This kind of giving affects us, more deeply than we often realize. Charity, given in this way, increases the fruit of our righteousness, our peace and our joy – the stuff of which the Kingdom of God is made. At Orchard: Africa we intentionally make opportunities to encourage your soul. As a part of the Orchard Community, you receive prayer-filled monthly stories about the impact of your giving. All our donors receive an Annual Report that highlights the outcomes of your giving. (2018’s report should hit your mailbox this week). We organize annual events where you get to celebrate all that God has done and will do through you. We communicate in ways that feed your soul – through thoughtful social media contributions as well as through letters like this one. Your charity matters. Deeply. In the King James Version of 1 Corinthians 13, known as the “love” chapter, the word translated for love is charity. You see, a soul that is charitable is a soul that loves with the God kind of love. Charity is patient, charity is kind. Charity does not puff itself up. Charity does not envy and does not seek her own way. Charity does not behave unseemly nor thinks in an evil way. Charity trains us in righteousness. Our giving alleviates the suffering of another and it nourishes our own soul. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (KJV)
May we think on these things!