After Hannah finally gave birth to Samuel and then “lent” him to the Lord forever (1 Samuel 1:28), she offered a prayer in the form of a psalm. One brief verse from that psalm caught my attention today:
The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.1 Samuel 2:7
This verse reminded me of the following passage from an 1834 revelation, in which the Lord explained how to eliminate poverty:
This is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.Doctrine and Covenants 104:16, italics added
It also reminds me of Alma’s instructions to the newly organized church at the waters of Mormon:
Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given.Mosiah 18:27
This seems like sound advice, not only with respect to money but with respect to everything that we have, including our talents. If you have more than you need of something, share it with those who have less. Enrich them a lot by impoverishing yourself a little.
I’m thinking of what economists call marginal utility. The more of something I have, the less I value more of it. If my pantry is full, one more loaf of bread may be insignificant to me, but it may be lifesaving for someone with an empty pantry. Therefore, let’s distribute what we have in a way that maximizes its value, by giving our surplus to those in need.
We are all rich in some ways and poor in others. In those areas where we are rich, let’s choose to be “brought low,” so that others can be “lifted up.” In areas where we are poor, let’s graciously accept the generosity of those who have more.
Today, I will share with others. I will remember that God exalts some of his children by humbling others. I will choose to impart abundantly so that others can have enough.