For the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about a "theme word" for this year. Last year it was hope. I enjoyed focusing on the many applications of this word. I tried to be positive and hopeful in what I wrote.
In considering the word Charity I recognize that it is not a simple word; it is very complex. Often times we merely think of Charity in respect to giving to others. We may make charitable contributions to various organization. Any act of caring for another is labeled as doing charitable work.
The dictionary defines charity as 1. Provision of help or relief to the poor; alms giving 2. Something given to help the needy; alms. 3. An institution, organization, or fund established to help the needy. 4. Benevolence or generosity toward others or toward humanity. 5. Indulgence or forbearance in judging others. See Synonyms, mercy. 6. Often Charity Christianity; the theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one's neighbors as objects of God's love.
Recently, I have been reading a book about Zion and what it takes to become a Zion like person. In order to someday have a Zion Society, as prophesied in Scripture; we must first become a Zion person. When considering the various qualities of a Zion person; we begin to notice that they are the characteristics of the Savior. In following his example we can be more like Him. We can strive to live a Christ like life.
The Pictures of Jesus Christ can be found here.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
8 Charity never faileth..........
While partaking of the Sacrament this week; I was pondering further upon the word Charity. One of my favorite scriptures popped into my mind; thus putting a finalized desire to understand how to seek for this gift of charity.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
The process of obtaining the gifts of Charity requires that you first love God with all your heart.....and then all men. Loving all men means loving more than just those who believe as you do.
The Prophet, Moroni ~
I love these words of the prophet Moroni as found in the Book of Mormon in Moroni 7:42-47:
42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.
43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.
44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
So my goal this year is to study and write about the characteristics of Charity; the pure love of Christ. Here's a story I'd like to share as I begin this process of learning more about the qualities, characteristics and nature of charity.
A passage from the novel Les misérables illustrates how we can begin to follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ. "Jean Valjean had just been released as a prisoner. Exhausted by a long voyage and dying of hunger and thirst, he arrives in a small town seeking a place to find food and shelter for the night. When the news of his arrival spreads, one by one all the inhabitants close their doors to him. Not the hotel, not the inn, not even the prison would invite him in. He is rejected, driven away, banished. Finally, with no strength left, he collapses at the front door of the town’s bishop.
The good clergyman is entirely aware of Valjean’s background, but he invites the vagabond into his home with these compassionate words:
“‘This is not my house; it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief. You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome. … What need have I to know your name? Besides, before you told me [your name], you had one which I knew.’
“[Valjean] opened his eyes in astonishment.
“‘Really? You knew what I was called?’
“‘Yes,’ replied the Bishop, ‘you are called my brother."
We have a famine in the world today of recognizing who we truly are. We are the children of a loving Heavenly Father. We are brothers and sisters. We can learn and grow in our quest to become more Christ-like, more Zion like. Join me in this learning process.