A truly philanthropic society combines the best of charitable work from both the private and the public sector. Too often we get caught up in what government can provide, and in larger corporate charitable pursuits. While those organizations surely do their part of help those less fortunate or in difficult situations, it’s important to not lose sight of the important work done on a daily basis by faith-based organizations. One such group that is doing great work here locally is Journey Christian Church, led by lead pastor Steve Phillips.
Pastor Steve Phillips states that “the Journey ministry is called the Love Our Neighbors Project, based upon the great commandment of Jesus — to love the Lord our God with all our being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves”. Journey regularly comes to the aid of local homeowners unable to maintain their property due to issues such as illness and financial hardship. Journey and their parishioners have regularly jumped in to provide repairs at no cost.
These efforts are indicative of the value that faith based organizations can provide. All too often an increasing percentage of the population wants to attach negative connotations to faith-based organizations and their parishioners. In the ongoing debate regarding the role of faith in society, the discussion sometimes neglects the important work done on a daily basis by parishioners such as the congregation at Journey. These efforts are not publicized and not done to gain attention by these organizations. It doesn’t take an army to lend a helping hand and improve the situation of an individual citizen, allowing that person to potentially help others in the long run. All it really takes is a group of people looking to do good works for the betterment of the local community and willing to reach out.
The concept of charity itself has its origins in early Christianity. In Christian theology, the term caritas became the standard Latin translation for the Greek word Αγάπε, meaning an unlimited loving-kindness to all others. Over time the term evolved to represent the Christian triplet of “faith, hope and charity”, as used in the King James Bible in St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians. This concept, that individuals, organizations and the state should offer help to those in need without an expectation that a favor will be returned — charity — contributed greatly to the influence of Christianity. According to writer Christopher Price the Christian concept of charity was unique because it promoted the idea that charity was not limited to one’s own family or even one’s own social or cultural group. Over the centuries Christians have carried with them this concept of charity and it has had a significant influence on humanity.
In an era where many want government to provide the answer for every ill of society let’s remember the important efforts done by thousands of citizens on a daily basis ” a simple act of kindness” to help their fellow man — with no link to state, local or national government. As the ongoing debate of the role of religion in American society continues, it’s important to remember the good works of faith based individuals and organizations on a daily basis.