The Stewardship Foundation’s very existence is attributed to the founders’ calling to provide principled investors a pathway to charitable planning that is in sync with the teachings of Jesus Christ. But if there is one thing ALL the world’s major religions agree on is charity and helping others. This time of year we thought it might be good to reflect on this and gain some insight into this globally generous place we call Earth.
Confucius, the teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of Chinese history, when asked to express his ambition, said
Exemplary people understand matters of justice;
small people understand matters of profit.
The ancient 3rd book of the Jewish Pentateuch, the Book of Leviticus, cautions the wealthy:
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Likewise, you shall not pick your vineyard bare, nor gather up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien.
A few centuries later, it was recorded in the Psalms…
Blessed is he that considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.
And Luke 12:33-34, whose insight so clearly carves our path at the Foundation (and whose quote is on the home page of our website) warns us not to store up things for ourselves, but sell our belongings and give alms…
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
The Book of Mormon, the sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement, teaches…
And behold, I tell you these things that you may learn wisdom; that you may learn that when you are in the service of the your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God. Mosiah 2:17
The Dhammapada, for those unfamiliar with it, is a collection of 423 verses attributed to the Buddha as a framework for the traditions, beliefs, and practices of Buddhism, pages 83 and 98.
Do as you would want done to you.
Fools are not generous: the world of the gods is not for the stingy. Wise men are generous; they find happiness in the next birth.
The Koran (or Quran, meaning literally “the recitation”) is the central religious text of Islam which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God:
God loves those who do good. The Table 5:13
Give generously for the cause of God…Be Charitable; God loves the charitable. The Cow 2:195
Tanakh (the larger work of the Jewish people which includes the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings) says it beautifully in Deuteronomy 15:7-11:
Give to him readily and have no regrets when you do so, for in return the LORD your God will bless you in all your efforts and in all your undertakings. For there will never cease to be needy ones in your land, which is why I command you: open your hand to the poor and needy kinsman in your land.
Tao Te Ching is the teachings of Lao Tsu of China and the basis of the Taoist faith, thought, and culture:
Before receiving, there must be giving. – Thirty-Six
The sage never tries to store things up. The more he does for others the more he has. The more he gives to others, the greater his abundance. – Eighty-One
Upanisads, part of the epic teachings of Hindu literature of India, gets right to the point:
There are three branches of the law. Sacrifice, study, and charity are the first. – Chandogy Upanisad, 2nd Prapataka, 23rd Khanda:1.
Let him never turn away (a stranger) from his house, that is the rule. Therefore a man should by all means acquire much food… If he gives food amply, food is given to him amply. If he gives food fairly, food is given to him fairly. If he gives food meanly, food is given to him meanly. – Taittirīyaka Upaniṣad, 3rd Vallī, 10th Anuvāka: 1
Our message is hopeful, but our reach is small. In the spirit of giving, please consider re-gifting this blog. Perhaps it will inspire someone else to better understand these insights on charity and helping others as seen through the lens of the world’s great religions. You can share by forwarding this blog to a friend or “Like” it on Facebook.
On behalf of the Staff, Board of Directors, Advisors, and volunteers at the Stewardship Foundation, we wish you a love-filled and blessed Christmas. We’ll talk to you again in the New Year!
Peace to all,
Joe, Jim, and Patrick