All of the sheep in attendance at the meeting today possess something Special, given to them unconditionally. . .and free of charge. The first Gift that they all receive is a Bouquet of Flowers made up exclusively of Lilies of the Valley and Roses of Sharon. My Lily has been picking them since the day she was born. . .from the very Good Moment she was given a new heart. There are references to these Flowers in the Old Testament of the Bible.
“My Beloved is mine and I am His: He feedeth among the lilies. . .His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers. His lips are like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. . .My Beloved is gone down to His garden to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens and to gather lilies.
It was love at first sight for Lily. Just a glance at His cheeks brought the Spice of Life to her heart and just a word from His lips filled her soul with the sweet smelling myrrh of Heaven. It was the day that He gathered her from His garden. . .when He spoke to her and said, “Peace, be still. I am your Life and your Love.” She who had been forgiven much, she began to love much.
Lily is our guest speaker today. She wants to share something near and dear to her new heart. It is the only topic discussed in Heaven. It is Charity, the Essence of Love. “We are all ears, Love.”
“”Spring cleaning. An annual event. Purging the old to make room for the new. A typical household conversation between a husband and wife during this time sounds something like this. . .
“Honey, please clean out your closet.” Ok, dear. I’ve done it. . .now what should I do with all of it? “Give it to Goodwill. . .We’ll have the Salvation Army pick it up. . .We can give it to Amvets. . .Purple Hearts can come and get it.” What is all boils down to is this: “We’ll donate it to charity.”
Charity. It’s a word we’ve all heard before. . .in a scenario similar to the one above. Perhaps as a woman’s name that we may have thought a little odd or unusual. On our tax returns: “Please list any charitable contributions you have made over the past year.” (To list as deductions) The things that you determined you don’t need anymore and have given to others to get credit for. But what does the word mean? Does anyone really know?
We’ve all heard the same reading dozens of times at weddings. . .”Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. . .” In fact, we’ve heard it so many times that we could probably recite it, or parts of it, along with the reader at the next wedding we attend. But have you ever heard this version?
“Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly; it seeketh not her own way; is not easily provoked; it thinketh no evil; it rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the Truth; it beareth all things; it believeth all things; it hopeth all things; it endureth all things. Charity never faileth.”
Webster’s defines charity as “benevolent goodwill toward, or love of, humanity; generosity and helpfulness especially the needy or suffering; also: aid given to those in need; an institution engaged in relief of the poor; public provision for the relief of the needy; an institution (as a hospital) founded by such a gift; and lenient judgement of others.”
“Generosity. . .especially toward the needy or suffering. . .aid given to those in need. . .relief of the poor, of the needy. . .lenient judgement of others. . .Love of humanity.”
Charity is to generously give aid, help and relief in an non-judgmental way to poor, needy, suffering humans. Not because we don’t need it ourselves anymore. Not because we choose to give it. Not because we want credit for it. But because He does it. Through us. For us. Not because we deserve it. But because He Loves us.
“And above all things have fervent Charity among yourselves: for Charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8 He will enable us to Love one another. Because He Loves us.
Free Charity. Freely given. Freely received. Free Love.