I was reading through a friend’s blog today and he had linked to this quote:
“They are remarkable people. They walk in humility and kindness and falsehood is not found among them and they love one another. They despise not the widow and they grieve not the orphan. He that hath distributed liberally to him that hath not. If they see a stranger they bring him under their roof and they rejoice over him as if he were their brother. For they call themselves brethren not after the flesh, but after the Spirit and in God. But when one of their poor passes away from the world and any of them seem him, then he provides for his burial according to his ability. And if they hear that any of their number is imprisoned or oppressed for the name of their Messiah, all of them provide for his needs. And if it’s possible that he may be delivered, they deliver him. And if there is among them a man that is poor and needy and they have not an abundance of necessity, they will fast two or three days that they may supply the needy with his necessary food.”
— Aristides, A.D. 125
He who has distributes liberally of his possessions. time and money to those who do not have these things. And if the giver has only enough to meet his own needs, then he gives these things to supply another man’s necessity.
Do any of us live like that? Can any of us say that not only do we not have more than we need, but that often we go without what we need to help another person? When we heat our houses, do we work out the minimum heating we can use, then cut that further, and give the money we have saved to a person who cannot afford to heat his house? When we look for somewhere to rent (or buy), do we find the cheapest place and give the spare money to a charity for the homeless? When we eat, do we buy fairtrade and buy less than we think we need, so that we can donate money to a charity helping those who are starving?
A Christian should be known by his behaviour – the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Our faith in God is nothing, it is useless to us, if we do not live as though we have faith in God. When we see someone in need, we should meet that need. With internet – which I know you have, because you are reading this – you cannot pretend that you do not know of anyone whose need you can meet.
Come on people! Just think how much God loves you. He would do anything for you; he has done and continues to do everything possible to restore you as a perfect child of his. And that person next to you – the one who is suffering, or the one whom you hate – that person is loved by God just as much. When you know how much God loves you and loves every person, how can you refuse to help? Where is your love?
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
And if the love of God is not in you – if your faith is dead and useless – how can you claim to be a Christian?