The hymn "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" elaborates on the types of service described in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. As we serve others and meet their needs, we are blessed immediately, and we become more prepared to return to God's presence.
“The Poor Always Ye Have with You”
We can learn at least three things from Jesus's observation that there will always be poor people among us: 1. Don't overextend yourself trying to do good. 2. Make specific proposals. 3. You have an ongoing responsibility to care for the poor and needy.
Three characters in my Uncle Paul's sculpture of Lehi's dream are particularly striking: the man on the left looking up with determination, the individual running toward the mocking crowd, and the woman lending a helping hand to a person in need.
“Freely Ye Have Received, Freely Give”
One reason Jesus sent His apostles without "purse or scrip" was to help them be generous. When we are the recipients of unmerited blessings, we are more inclined to be generous. As King Benjamin said, we are all beggars, so we should freely give.
Jesus warns us not to "sound a trumpet" when we do good. Rather we should do our alms in secret. We can't always control the visibility of our service, but we can focus on the service and the recipient rather than how it might be percieved by others.
Cast Thy Bread Upon the Waters
The writer of Ecclesiastes teaches us an important principle through a vivid metaphor: Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1 I don't have a lot of experience throwing bread into water (other than feeding ducks) but this metaphor rings true to me. There is something uncontrollable about water,... Continue Reading →
“Open His Eyes”
When Elisha's young servant arose early one morning, he was alarmed to see the city Dothan surrounded by horses and chariots. Syria was at war with Israel, and the king of Syria had heard that Elisha was helping the king of Israel, much like Alma would later help Nephite military leaders (2 Kings 6:8-12; see... Continue Reading →
“The Lord Maketh Poor, and Maketh Rich”
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... Continue Reading →
“Until the Lord Hath Given Your Brethren Rest”
Before the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River, two and a half of the tribes requested permission to stay on the east side of the river. Moses granted them permission, on the condition that they agreed to help the remaining tribes secure land on the west side of the river. (See Numbers 32.) So,... Continue Reading →
On Mount Sinai, the Lord directed Moses to request an offering from the people. He made it clear that He cared about not only what they gave, but also how they gave: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my... Continue Reading →