"When I was in my early thirties, I spent several months working with an outreach team treating the homeless mentally ill in NYC. Our team consisted of two nurses, and a psychiatrist, a kindly M.D. from Haiti whom everyone called Dr. Paul. I was the driver and recruiter.
Each night, we would arrive at a different homeless shelter and set up a portable clinic. I would circulate among the ragged, struggling, lonely men and women who were staying there, telling them that there were free physical exams as well as treatment for cuts, colds, and other minor health problems. The real goal, however, was to convince anyone who was clearly delusional to sit down for a chat with Dr. Paul. He, in turn, would try to get them to accepted medication or hospitalization.
What always amazed me about this job was how good it made me feel. I can't remember ever leaving a shelter not feeling exhilarated.
That experience taught me an important lesson about charity: it is an act of compassion that intrinsically is linked to action. To simply sit down and write a check for an organization is a good thing, no question. Genuine charity, though, occurs when we activeyl manifest God's love in the world. We know this is God's work because it turns the laws of the physical universe upside down. Instead of feeling drained by the energy we expend in an act of charity, we are filled."