Charity begins at home

  Christmas is the season for giving. Some are able to give; others have nothing or very little to give. Giving is a blessing that is not to be taken lightly.
  In my opinion (and forgive me if you don't agree), charity begins at home. Your family's needs should come first, and we should all be concerned about the needs of neighbors and friends.
  When I was younger, there weren't organizations such as the United Way, or charitable organizations such as Shepherd's Inn , Hale Community Ministry or ARM, which exist to help those in need. They also provide us with an opportunity to give.
  Our first priority when it comes to giving should be to the people in our community, especially the local church. One thing that disturbs me is television preachers who continually plead for money. They practice what they call "seed faith". These preachers claim that, if you have enough faith, and if you send them "seed money", they will pray for you. Thus, you will be cured of any sickness you may have, and your financial problems will be solved, even down to getting your house paid off.
  It's not my intent to say they are wrong because I'm sure their intent is good. However, I do know this. It costs a lot of money to acquire television equipment and it also costs a lot of money to buy television time.
  As a newspaper man, I deal in facts, and the facts are that regardless of how much seed money we give or how many people are praying for us, if we live long enough, we are going to have sickness and problems. We are going to grow old, and we are going to die. Prayer will help us through these things, but it will not keep us from them. And, when it comes to paying off your debts and making a house payment, there are no quick fixes. You simply must get a job and work. That's the accepted way of paying your bills. If you are smart, you will not obligate yourself to spend more than you take home.
  Finally, it is the local church - not television preachers - who are there for you when sickness and death do come. And, why would we want to go to some television preacher we don't even know for prayer, when our friends and neighbors and our church family are ready to offer prayer in our behalf and at any time without a "seed" donation?
  Regardless of what each of us have been through this year or what we may face in the days ahead, Christmas is a time of celebration, a time to rejoice because of the gift we have received and for the ability to give. We must remember that no matter how great our loss has been or how great the burden we bear, the Lord makes no mistakes. His gifts to us are immeasurable and far outweigh our losses.