Providing the Lord's Way, Christian Service
Poverty Is Real
Poverty is real. It is seen throughout the world in many different ways. Poverty can be seen most visually in terms of material goods. We can readily see those who lack food, raiment, and shelter by the outward appearance of the individual. But poverty goes much deeper than the outward signs. Many suffer from poverty of the soul. These individuals are not as easily recognized, for their outward appearance may not signify their impoverished state. Their poverty is still real.
In our quest as a society to relieve those who suffer these plights, we turn to many different plans for support. In the United States we have many organizations to help provide for those who need assistance. Some of these programs work very well, some not so well. How can we know the best way to help those who may need it? We can do this by providing in the Lord’s way. Some may say, I am not religious, or I am not Christian. To you I implore, simply see the plan for yourself and see if it is worthy of trial.
Providing The Lord's Way
What is the Lord’s way of providing for all? It really is so simple and so perfect. It embodies both principles of self-reliance and charity. These two principles when woven together embrace welfare, meaning the temporal and spiritual well being of every individual. The Lord’s way of providing benefits the giver as well as the receiver.
Providing The Lord's Way
The Giver and the Receiver is Blessed
“Providing for the poor and needy in the Lord’s way means that the giver helps those who are less fortunate by giving according to what he has received from God. He gives freely and with a true spirit of love, recognizing that his Heavenly Father is the source of all his blessings and that he is responsible to use those blessings in the service of others.
The receiver accepts the offered help with gratitude. He uses it to release himself from the bondage and limitations of his need and become more able to rise to his full potential, both temporally and spiritually. He then reaches out to help others.
Providing in the Lord’s way humbles the rich, exalts the poor, and sanctifies both. Both are blessed as they keep the Lord’s commandments. Both become more able to give as Christ gives.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ in Action
This is Jesus Christ’s gospel in action, the crowning principle of a Christian life. The Lord said, “And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.” If we truly desire to be a disciple of Christ, we should give of ourselves, our time, talents, and resources, to care for those in need. We are better able to fulfill this responsibility if we are striving to become self-reliant, for we cannot give what we do not have.
Self Reliance is part of His plan.
Our God has blessed us with everything. He has given us all our resources and material goods and has given us stewardship over them. We will be accountable to Him for how we use what he has provided us with. He never forsakes us, but he does not do for us what we can do for ourselves. He has commanded us to use the things we receive from Him to take care of ourselves and our families, and then with the excess take care of others. When we do so, we become self reliant.
To become self reliant we must prepare ourselves in the following areas:
- Education- When we have knowledge and wisdom, we are able to discern truth from error and make better choices. We are better able to understand God, and our fellowmen, and we have a deeper love for both of them with that understanding.
- Health- We have been taught by God to take care of our bodies and minds and to keep them healthy and clean. When we do this we are better able to take care of our own needs and thereby serve others as well.
- Employment- Suitable employment also gives us opportunities to improve our talents and develop the divine attributes within us. We are commanded to work and provide for the needs of ourselves and our families.
- Home Storage- Providing an ample supply of food, clothing and fuel in case of emergency situations is a must in the volatile economic conditions that are present in today’s economic market.
- Resource Management- We should be wise stewards by exercising judgment in managing and replenishing the resources with which we have been blessed. The council to “avoid debt”, and “live within your means” is priceless. The “buy now, pay later” mentality is how we get in to trouble in the first place.
- Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Strength- We should strive to live righteously, to develop good relationships with family members and others, and to feel good about ourselves.
Work For What We Need
A wise man, Marion G. Romney stated, “Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation, in temporal as well as in spiritual things.”
We All Need Help Now And Then
There will be times in our lives when we will not be able to meet our needs without the help of others. In these circumstances, we should turn first to our families for help, and then to other organizations if necessary. We should determine that we will use the help we receive to become more self-reliant and more able to give to others.
We cannot be self-reliant without being willing to work. Work is physical, mental, or spiritual effort. Work is the source of happiness, self-esteem, and prosperity. It is the way we accomplish good things in our lives.
Self Reliance Leads To Charity
When we are self-reliant, we can then give to help others. This is how we are able to live by the second principle in the Lord’s plan, that of charity.
Nearly all of us can give or do something for others, no matter how little we may have. When we strive to give and serve as Christ did, we are abundantly blessed. We overcome selfishness and greed, and we temper our appetites and passions. There are many ways to give, there are opportunities present all around us, in our homes, neighborhoods, and in our communities, if we are willing to see them. Once we see those opportunities we simply must be moved to act, a good intention is simply not enough.
The real long term objective of providing for each other in the Lord’s way is the building of character in each other, both the givers and the receivers. It is about rescuing all that is finest down deep inside of us and bringing to flower the fruitage of the latent richness which is divinely in us all.
Providing The Lord's Way Is Beautiful
Spencer W. Kimball stated, “Isn’t the plan beautiful? When viewed in this light, we can see that welfare is not a program, but the essence of the gospel. It is the gospel in action. It is the crowning principle of a Christian Life.”
I believe that the only way we will be able to remove poverty from our earth is to do it the Lord's way. When we figure that out for our stubborn selves, the problem will be solved.
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