Charity Begins at Home

May 2, 2023 | Mitchell Mace

To understand charity, I believe we need to understand the various meanings of the word. What is the origin of the word? What meaning is used here?

It is interesting to see the differences of what is revealed.

The Google online definition states it comes from the Late Latin word caritas meaning Christian love, and from the Latin word carus meaning dear. The definitions state:

  1. an organization or body of organizations set up to raise money,
  2. the voluntary giving of help, usually money, to those in need,
  3. kindness and tolerance in judging others.

Interestingly, under the third item is listed the “archaic” definition as love of humankind, typically in a Christian context. 

Well, I believe it is clear that we are not talking of any charitable organizations. And I further believe this is not about judging others. 

Giving of monetary help is talked about in Hebrews 7. Verse 1 and the start of 2 states, “This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.”

From this giving by Abraham came the example of tithing. Leviticus 27:30 states, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.”

This tithing is not what we give to our family at home. It is, however, what we bring to the Lord. For our family, this is some of what we must be teaching our children as we help to build their relationship with the Lord. 

With the giving of money not pertaining to at home, it leaves us with the option of voluntary giving of help, and the “archaic” one of “faith, hope, and charity” of 1 Corinthians 13:13 pertaining to charity as love, as agape. Agape is known as God’s unconditional love. 

So, we must help our family at all times, in good and in bad times. We must always help them with unconditional love. Our loved ones will always do wrongs, just as we ourselves will. The question is whether we teach the forgiveness which goes along with our unconditional love for others, leading us to the understanding of their wrongs. 

Acts 20:35 states, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Further, Romans 16:2 states, “I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of His people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.”

Now, Paul is referring to the deaconess Phoebe in his writing. However, this is giving us the example of how we should treat others, and also of how our church family is that … a family. We need to take lessons from many of the verses in the Bible as having multiple meanings. Our family is much more than that of simply those we have at home. Our family is that of the brotherhood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him, we are all brothers and sisters. 

So, back now to the start of this … charity at home, and what it is meaning. 

It means, in my opinion, to teach and lead by example to our own loved ones, our own family. We must do this through the example of God’s agape. Then through this example, include into our family at home the connection of our family to others for His home.