2000-06-27 - Visito, Poto, Cibo, Redimo, Tego, Colligo, Condo

Luke 12:33,34 Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

This was a Latin phrase used by the Schoolmen to explain Christian duty. The basic idea behind the phrase was that it is the Christians duty to “visit those in misery (Visito), give drink to the thirsty (Poto), meat to the hungry (Cibo), rescue the captive (Redimo), cover the naked (Tego), dress the wounded (Colligo), and bury the dead (Condo).

Charity to others is one of the virtues of Christian character. The Christian should excel in charity done in the name and service of Christ. Why should others outside the Christian faith do more in this area than a servant of Christ? Clearly, our faith and practice should rise above those who are carnal and tied to this world.

We have the example of Tabitha, or Dorcas in Acts 9:36, “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which, by interpretation, is called Dorcas: This woman was full of good works and deeds of charity which she did.” In the next chapter of Acts, 10:4, we see that God blessed Cornelius by sending Paul to him and his house. The reason given -- “Your prayers and your deeds of charity have come up as a memorial before God.” Paul came to his house and told Cornelius and told his household about the gospel and the gospel was first there preached to gentiles.

It is said of the woman of virtue in Proverbs 31:31, “...let her works praise her in the gates.” Surely what is in mind here is her good works, and her deeds of kindness and mercy. There is a second list of a virtuous woman in 1 Timothy 5:10. James tells us the pure and undefiled religion is to “visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)

Lastly, to close out all doubt about the need for charity and good works in the lives of Christians we have Titus 3:8, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God, may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.”

So deeds of righteousness are clearly put forward in Scripture as part of the Christian life. It is as if good works are like putting money in heavens bank. We even have examples in Scripture where God blesses the person who does good works, especially in the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. We do good works out of our love to Christ and the limit of our kindness and works is only limited by the measure of our love and gratitude to Christ. May we be known for our deeds and acts of kindness to others.

“Many people will always be poor because they never give to the cause of God.” C. H. Spurgeon

Soli Deo Gloria,