Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I Charity You

At one time, the word charity meant love. For example, in 1 Corinthians 13 - the famous "love" chapter of the Bible, often quoted at weddings - the final line in the King James version reads:
"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity."
In the original Latin version of the Bible, the word translated as charity was used to describe God's love. Hence the King James' usage. The French, however, broadened the definition of charity to include mercy, compassion, alms, and benevolence for the poor. According to my word etymology resources, this meaning crept into English around the end of the seventeenth century. 

So for a little over 300 years charity has mostly meant giving aid to those less fortunate.

Anyone who has had their dinner interrupted by a telemarketing fundraiser phone call can surely attest to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of charitable organizations out there - and all of them have called us at one time or another (or so it feels). How do you know which ones to trust?

That's where today's link comes in: check 'em out at Charity Navigator. The website has diligently logged, catalogued, and rated all **1.6 million** charities registered with the Internal Revenue Service. You can read about their methodology, their rating system, and search their immense database to find your favorite organization and see if they qualify for the site's four-star rating, which is the highest.

I particularly liked the "Tips for Savvy Donors" which, in fact, recommended you never give to a charity over the phone!


A Red Cross volunteer and a lawyer died and went up to the heavenly gates. Saint Peter tells the volunteer to wait a little while, and lets the lawyer in first. As the gates close on the volunteer, she sees the lawyer greeted with much fanfare! Music erupts, cheers are heard, a choir of angels descend from above and sing a joyous hallelujah. Finally, the Lord Himself appears and gives a personal greeting and warm embrace to the lawyer.

Things eventually begin to die down, and the lawyer wanders off to enjoy his eternity in heaven. As the last angel floats away, Saint Peter grants entrance to the volunteer. But there is no music, no choir, no grand heavenly greeting.

Confused, the volunteer looks to Peter for an explanation. "Oh," says Saint Peter, "we get volunteers in here all the time. That was our first lawyer."


"Volunteering is the time without the crime. Community Service, on the other hand...."  (Anonymous)


Mark's Musings is published on a periodical basis - right now on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays - but that may change without notice. Find me on Twitter at This blog is considered to be a digital periodical publication and is filed as such with the U.S. Library of Congress; ISSN 2154-9761.

1 comment:

Adam Jones said...

I'm laughing out loud. AND that's good advice, at the top.