Near the exits at our local Wal-Mart are several large cardboard bins collecting donations of school supplies for those in need. At other times of year, they collect non-perishable food or toys that are then distributed through local organizations.

Why? To give shoppers a chance to demonstrate this week’s character trait of benevolence.

Benevolence is giving to the basic needs of others without having personal reward as my motive. It’s caring more about others than myself and doing something to help in a practical way … while not caring who gets the credit. (In fact, this character trait requires the previous three – I must be alert to spot the box, attentive to hear the need, and available to take the extra steps and time to respond!)

Jesus helped us narrow down the law into two basic commands. Love God and love your neighbor. Benevolence is all about loving others and flows naturally from loving God. In fact, John wrote, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17 NKJV) Ouch.

This week I’m looking for a place to give.

What about you? Do you find it easy to give? Do you struggle with wanting to get the credit? How do the previous character traits affect each other?

Character Matters – Benevolence
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