Do not put off charity

Daily Reading for February 23 • Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156

I urge all of you to obey the word of righteousness and to practice all endurance, which you also observed with your own eyes not only in the most fortunate Ignatius, Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others who lived among you, and in Paul himself and the other apostles. You should be convinced that none of them acted in vain, but in faith and righteousness, and that they are in the place they deserved, with the Lord, with whom they also suffered. For they did not love the present age; they loved the one who died for us and who was raised by God for our sakes. And so, you should stand firm in these things and follow the example of the Lord, secure and unmoveable in your faith, loving the brotherhood, caring for one another, united in the truth, waiting on one another in the gentleness of the Lord, looking down on no one. When you are able to do good, do not put it off, since giving to charity frees a person from death.

From the Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians (9:1-10:2), quoted in The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader by Bart D. Ehrman (Oxford University Press, 2004).

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