Wednesday, August 9, 2017

do what you can but...Give More





When I was a relief society president in Iowa, I visited a young mom like myself on assignment from my bishop (mormon church).  I was tasked with filling out a form with her to order food for her and her child for the next couple of weeks.  I didn't know her yet, even though she was in my congregation because she hadn't attended much.  I was very rules orientated and happy to obey my bishop in this assignment.  When I went into her home and sat with her at her kitchen table we calmly filled out the sheet and she quietly expressed just a couple of groceries she really needed.  As I looked at her, with form in hand, I felt the whisper, "Give more."

I looked at her planned meals and realized a few good additions, and suggested them to her.  She agreed and on the list they went.  I then remembered some household goods I thought might be helpful, and at my suggestion she agreed.  This went on through the visit with me receiving the prompting again twice, "GIVE MORE."

This was my one and only visit with her.  I worked with several other families in their needs and all went smoothly were mostly forgettable. I learned two things from that particular experience:  someone was very aware of that woman and wanted more for her than she wanted for herself.  And that had nothing to do with her religiosity and rule following like myself.  Secondly, I learned more of the language of the spirit, and how nurturing our God is.  Despite our wants or verbalized needs he GIVES MORE.

Jesus stood up in his home synagogue in Nazareth and said these words, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and set at liberty them that are bruised."  Jesus' first and one of the foremost duties would be to bless the poor.

From the start of his ministry Jesus loved the poor and disadvantaged in a an extraordinary way.  In our day, in the first year of our church, the Lord commanded the members to "look to the poor and needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer."  Note the tone of that passage--SHALL NOT--clearly this alleviating suffering was important.

A journalist once asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her task of rescuing the desperately poor in that city.  This man said that, based on statistics she was accomplishing absolutely nothing.  She replied that her work was about love, not statistics.  Even though there was so much beyond her reach, she could serve who was within her reach with whatever she had.  She said, "What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean, but if we didn't do it, the ocean would be one drop less than it is."

Elder Holland in conference stated: I do not know all the reasons why the circumstances of birth, health, education, and economic opportunities vary so widely here in this life, but when I see the want among so many, I do know that there but for the grace of God go I.  I also know that although I may not be my brother's keeper, I am my brother's brother, and because I have been given much I too must give. I pay a personal tribute to President Monson.  I have been blesssed to work with this man for 47 years now and the image of him I will cherish until I die is of him flying home from then-economically devastated East germany in his house slippers because he had given away not only his second suit and his extra shirts but the very shoes from off his feet.  How beautiful upon the mountains and shuffling through an airline terminal are the feet of him that  bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.  More than any man I know, he has done all he could for the widow and the fatherless, the poor and the oppressed.

Presiding bishop Burton said:  This is the sacred work the savior expects from his disciples.  It is the work he loved when he walked the earth.  It is the work I know we would find Him doing were he here among us today.

The Lord's way is not to sit at the side of a stream and wait for the water to pass before we cross.  It is to come together, roll up our sleeves, go to work, and build a bridge or a boat to cross the waters of our challenges.

From Bishop Burton's family history he tells:  Many have heard of the Willie and Martin handcart companies and how these faithful pioneers suffered and died as they endured winter cold and debilitating conditions during their trek west.  Robert Taylor Burton, one of my great great grandfathers was one of those whom Brigham Young asked to ride out and rescue those dear, desperate saints.  Of this time Grandfather wrote in his journal: Snow deep and very cold..so cold that we could not move...Thermometer 11 degrees below zero...so cold people could not travel.  Life saving supplies were distributed to the stranded saints, but in spite of all the rescuers could do-- many were laid to rest by the wayside.  As the rescued saints were traversing a portion of the trail through echo canyon, several wagons pulled off to assist in the arrival of a baby girl.  Robert noticed the young mother did not have enough clothing to keep her newborn infant warm.  In spite of the freezing temperatures, he took off his own homespun shirt and gave it to the mother to wrap the baby. The child was given the name Echo--Echo Squires--as a remembrance of the place and circumstances of her birth.  In later years Robert was called to the presiding bishopric of the church where he served for more than three decades.  At age 86 he fell ill.  He gathered his family to his bedside to give them his final blessing.  Among his last words was this simple but profound counsel:  Be kind to the poor.

We want so bad a peaceful world and prosperous lives.  We pray for good societies where wickedness is gone and goodness and right are what win.  No matter how many temples we build, no matter how large the membership in our church grows, no matter how positively we are viewed by other people--should we fail in this great commandment to succor the weak and the poor, the answer to that pleading will ever be distant.

I'd like to close my talk with the words the spirit shared with me, "give more."



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