How to Lead by Example and Be More Charitable
Today I welcome guest writer, David Andrews. Whether it’s the all-too-frequent me, me, me screaming from the mouths of our toddlers or the rolling eyes and self-absorbed comments uttered by our teenagers, we wonder how will we ever convey the spirit and heart of Christian charity to them. How will we train up these precious children God has given us?
It comes down to shepherding their hearts and leading by example.
It is not uncommon for life to feel like it is passing us by. That is normal. It is also normal that in these instances we lose track of our purpose. But keep in mind that God is working for our good. And just as God is working for our good, we, too, should do the same for others. There are many ways we can do this — one way is by being charitable. The question then is how can we be charitable? Let’s look at three ways:
Charity Begins at Home
Yes, that is the well-known saying often misattributed as a Biblical proverb. To clear things up “Charity begins at home” is not a Biblical proverb. But it makes perfect sense. The word charity in its original Greek iteration is agapē, which means “love.” Ergo charity is love, and love begins at home.
We must first learn to love those closest to us — our family — before we can love those around us. It means caring well for those at home and nurturing them as best we can. It also means teaching the value of charity to the family’s younger members. In this case, The Balance emphasizes the importance of setting a good example. As parents, we need to create and foster not only a loving environment but also one that encourages giving.
Therefore, we must be the first ones to show love and charity. This can be done by ensuring that our family members see us doing charitable work, like volunteering for a community project, participating in food drives, or taking part in walks for a good cause. Better yet, do charitable work alongside them. By doing this, it accomplishes three important things.
First, it reinforces charity as good behavior.
Second, it gives you opportunities to explain the importance of giving.
Third, they will feel how rewarding being charitable can be.
Take Advantage of Contagious Generosity
We read in ‘10 Ways to Encourage People to Give More,’ Greater Good Magazine introduces the concept of contagious generosity. In short, it states that generosity can be “socially contagious” meaning people are more likely to show charity when they see others doing it. In fact, it only takes one generous act by someone for charity to cascade through social networks. Therefore, the best way to take advantage of this dynamic is to involve entire communities in charity work.
We can go ahead and take the lead by organizing charity events in our community. By doing so we give people the opportunity to take part in charitable work, or at least be inspired by it. In this case, we have a myriad of choices in terms of what events to stage.
A list of fundraising ideas by Save the Children suggests using a social gathering, such as a barbecue, to raise money. This helps turn charity into a community event that everyone can get involved in. Just as important, the environment at these gatherings needs to be light and informal, thus putting everyone at ease. On the invitation to the event make it clear that it is for a good cause and have a donation box for either money or clothes and canned goods (or both). Take the lead by making sure that when they arrive you have already made a contribution.
Stay True to Our Faith
Going back to an earlier point, God is working for our good. Therefore, we should work for the good of others, too. This dynamic is inculcated in our faith, and our faith should guide us as the Gospel does.
According to Luke: “But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you” (Luke 11:41).
As pointed out in The Conversation’s ‘Why Faith Inspires People to Give’ article, charity is one of the values “deeply rooted in the texts, traditions, and practices of many faiths,” including ours. Our traditions — and even those of other religions — consider giving a key religious practice, and doing it is a way of staying true to our faith. But again it should not be for show, or for personal gain. Rather we should find that deeper connection between our faith and our decision to be altruistic. In doing so we can set a good example by finding meaning in charity.
Bio: David Andrews is a writer who hopes that his work will spread the teachings of God. He has traveled the world and found inspiration from the kindness of others. It has given him the drive to help as many people as he can, whether through his actions or articles.
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