How do we define charity? The dictionary defines it as voluntary giving of help to those who need it . What often differentiates charity from regular giving is that the usual beneficiary of a charitable work is someone not personally known to the giver. By its very meaning, we can safely surmise that charity is a selfless act.
The usual recipients of charity include the poor, the sick, and the disabled. These are the groups that typically have to rely on other people for survival since they are not able to provide themselves with their most basic needs including food, clothes, and shelter. A person is said to be doing an act of charity if he or she contributes money, goods or time to an individual or group who needs assistance. Individuals who participate in this kind of endeavor would have to be selfless in order to give meaning to this act. This means having no ulterior motive to gain an advantage or benefit . A truly selfless act of charity does not seek public recognition but rather revels in the secrecy of the deed.
Here lies the problem of so many so-called philanthropists. Although not all are guilty of this, a good number are merely after the good publicity that engaging in charity conveniently provides. Recipients of acts of charity are naturally grateful and would usually accede to requests of “good words”. Some need not even be told to do so because of the high degree of gratitude. This wouldn’t be so bad if there were no obvious immediate benefits that can be obtained by the givers of charity.
It is sad that even in the world of charity, selfishness is able to penetrate. In a willing giver, no publicity is necessary for motivation. Selfish charity should give way to selfless charity.