Have you noticed that it’s now cool to do good deeds? Everybody is getting in on the whole charity thing.
Service opportunities are everywhere, so there’s little excuse for not getting involved. Too busy to spend time volunteering? A portion of the proceeds from your next coffee purchase may go to save the world from, well, something.
At one level I am very excited for our culture’s apparent reawakening to the value of doing good. This impulse that people have to bless others by contributing to causes larger than themselves is a result of our being made in the image of God, and it’s one of the many things that differentiates us from the animals.
At another level I’m a little bothered by the “coolness” of charity. The cultural emphasis on doing good seems to have taken on a faddish quality. Giving is as “in” as skinny jeans and starting an answer to a question with “So, . . .” If we’re going to do good, wouldn’t it be nice if our efforts were sustainable and meaningful?
In describing his own spiritual journey, Tim Keller speaks of his search for “a group of Christians who had a concern for justice in the world but who grounded it in the nature of God rather than in their own subjective feelings.”* I’d like to be that sort of person—one who genuinely cares about doing good, but who bases my good deeds in the truth of Jesus Christ. Then, when doing good gets tough, as it always does eventually, I’ll have an anchor that enables me to outlast a fad.
*Tim Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York: Riverhead, 2008), xiii.