Sunday, January 17, 2010

Golden Rule: Do Unto Others

So, we all know that we are required to pay a full tithe. As we can see from the story of the widow and her two mites, ten percent is only a minimum requirement. However, when Christ noticed the widow, he did not turn to anyone and say “go and do likewise.” The question then is how much should we give beyond a full tithe? What else does God require of us? Like many of the questions posed in this writing, this is a very personal question between each individual and God. I cannot answer it, but I can give you some guidance on the matter. I think one of the best parables taught on this subject is found in Matthew chapter 25, verses 34-40.

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, an ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

In this parable the commandment is not given to take in the needy or sick. We are not commanded to feed the hungry. However, we are taught to do these things, and taught that doing them will bring us great rewards in heaven. Also, that not doing them will bring us great sorrow.

In John chapter 15, verses 12-13 Christ commands us to love one another as he has loved us. Christ loved us so much that he gave his life, not to save ours, but just for the chance that we might accept his sacrifice and live again. Christ knew that there would be many who would not accept his sacrifice, but he gave it anyway. Does this mean that it is a sin if we do not give our life to save another? I doubt Christ would require repentance from someone that froze in fear rather than running into a burning building. I do believe that if someone did run into a burning building Christ would reward their heroic actions.

What Christ means is that we must do unto others as He would do, and that we must love others as Jesus loves us. If we love strangers and friends as children of God, then we will desire to give to the needy, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked. We will desire to ease their suffering in whatever way possible.


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