Saturday, October 08, 2005

Charitable Priorities

If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
~ 1 Timothy 5:8

When multiple tragedies strike in close succession, the charitable giver must make choices. We can not deny our own financial responsibilities, yet we wish to help to the extent that our resources allow. How do we choose our charities to assist our neighbors in need?

This is the question posed on OneTrueGodBlog in the wake of today's earthquake in Asia. Most American charitable givers continue to support hurricane relief efforts; now there is a new demand placed upon our consciences. So how do we make the call as to where our money goes?

I use St. Paul's first letter to Timothy, quoted above, as a guiding principle, because I do believe that charity begins at home. Some of my annual foreign missions donation was diverted to hurricane relief here in the U.S., to fellow Americans in need--my "family."

But when catastrophes such as today's occur, the boundaries of family are widened to include our faraway cousins. While I won't forget my countrymen, I am called upon to remember also those suffering in other lands. If I want to be able to say I am at least attempting to meet Our Lord's expectations, I have no other choice:

...go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. ~ Mark 10:21

My October contributions will be divided between both U.S. and foreign charities, accompanied by prayers for all. I haven't sold all that I have, so I'm not expecting "treasure in heaven." But I'm hoping that, for my good faith efforts, I may be worthy of a gift certificate.