Taken from A Word In Season: Daily Messages on the Faith for All of Life, Vol. 1, pp. 74-75
Twice lately, friends have asked me about charitable causes their women’s guild and church group have become involved in. Let us call these charities the Friends of the Whoopee Indians and the Christian Mission to Ivy League Hopheads. What did I think of them? Not much, I had to admit. Why? First, I said, I have a low opinion of both groups, and second, true charity begins at home.
What did I mean by that? Simply this: if a group wants to be charitable, look around first of all. How many elderly people are there who could use help? I have rarely seen a church in which some elderly couple could not use friendly help. In many cases, the wife is ill, and housework and shopping are a problem. Or the wife has a very sick husband and needs help and relief from time to time.
Again, there usually are mothers who have a deserting husband and many children, who could use more than a little help with the children, and with gifts of clothing and food, from time to time.
The friends who asked the questions would be happy to see their church groups active in such areas, but it is not likely to happen. If you send food, clothing, or money off to another city, state, or continent, you are not personally involved. However, if you help old Mr. Smith with the housework, and the care of his bedridden wife, you are personally and continuously involved. Mr. Smith needs help week in and week out. You know then that you and your friends are always needed, and this spells responsibility and a burden.
To get involved with the poor and needy in your own church, and in your community, means that you have assumed a burden directly and personally. Instead of the glow you get when you send off money or food elsewhere, you get a continuous job, and maybe a backache, and who wants that? Not many church members, you can be sure.
But real charity begins at home with direct and personal involvement. Then you have responsible, not sentimental, charity. Then too when you extend your charity beyond your own community, you are going to be responsibly Christian, not sentimental. The charity of Phariseeism is against involvement.
Are you and your church Pharisees?