Charity

Everybody is Eager to Be the Boss, Throw Their Weight Around

Ed, my neighbor next door, met his match last week. His uncle Fred arrived from Edmonton for a two-day-stop-over on a train trip to Winnipeg. Could it be, that if family members are, too much, alike then, things don’t go well? Is it like having a mirror in one’s face for too long? Seeing yourself, while you shave or put on make-up is necessary, but a glance in the mirror isn’t meant to take all day. Ruby said that Ed’s uncle Fred is an older edition of Ed, as stubborn, and as know-it-all as Ed.

Apparently, when Ed was in high school, he worked with his uncle in construction for a summer. His uncle was foreman and a tough boss on everyone. My neighbor said that his uncle never pitched in to work with them, but found fault with everything that the workers did. He was a boss who threw his weight around and made sure everyone knew he was over and above his workers. When his uncle got moved to another worksite, the workers rejoiced; until the next foreman came, and he turned out to be the same boss in a different body. Ed decided during that summer job that he hated taking orders. On the farm, he could be the boss of himself. Ed still sees his uncle Fred as a bossy, know-it-all, and his uncle still sees Ed as someone who needs his correction. The two-day visit was a long one for Ed.

Family love may not have much stretch to it. In many families, there may be lots of members who want to be bossy. Blessed are those who are willing to work and help rather than just give orders. Family love means charity must begin at home. Charity and love do not mean exactly the same thing. Charity is a specific flavor of love. It means a generous love towards others in need of consideration. Often we criticize others that we don’t like, rather than, offering them any generous, or lenient judgment. God, our Father in heaven showed generous, undeserved love to us as our creator.  In spite of our sinfulness, he sent his Son Jesus Christ to help and save us. Jesus did not come among us on earth to be our boss, but to give his charity to us. Jesus provided what we needed not what we deserved. He generously and perfectly fulfilled God’s law for us because we cannot perfectly keep God’s laws. He took the punishment of death for our sins upon himself on the cross. God’s generous love towards us inspires us to provide what is spiritually or physically needed by others.

Often we think of others as needing our correction and our direction.  Are we better at thinking like a boss rather than as an equal? Do we think in terms of all that we know or all that God knows about us and our sinfulness? Has God not dealt with us generously? Have we not received forgiveness and kindness beyond measure through his Son? Why don’t we tend to see others as those who are in need? Maybe the know-it-all uncle, the clueless nephew, the irritating brother, and the nagging mother need charity as much as the homeless and hungry.

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Raymond Maher
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