Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Beggars, beggars all

Why is it that we’re ashamed to help people?

I don’t mean to judge or criticize, because I’ve felt it, too. You see someone begging, and you feel sad for that person, and you want to help, but you don’t because you’re also embarrassed. We’re afraid that it’ll just go to booze, or that if they really wanted help, they’d go to an overcrowded shelter to be turned back out...

Or any of a host of other reasons.

I got this because I read a blog today that reminded me of this. Ezra’s Ramblings.

I just got reminded of the verses in Mosiah where he reminds us that we are all beggars, and not worthy of help from the Lord, but for some strange reason He gives it to us anyway.

I copied these verses from the church website scriptures:

16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.

21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

I mean, how much more clear can a prophet of the Lord be?

But still, I don’t always follow that advice, either.

Mark Hansen

1 comment:

  1. I love the scriptures you quoted. I too have often been embarrassed and even annoyed at the panhandling on the sides of the freeway, etc. I've often wondered about how we should handle things like that. I do know that the Church has counseled us to donate generously to the Fast Offering program and to seize opportunities of service to the poor as opposed to handing out cash at a freeway exit or downtown on the corner. I've tried to follow that counsel and it does help you to know that you really are serving those in need.

    That being said I have taken the chance a couple of times to help poeple out and have had mixed responses. Once a man holding up a sign "will work for food" turned down the offer of food and only wanted money. Once a lady who I gave money to began to cry with gratitude and I felt so glad that I had helped her. I had one more experience where I refused my help and it still bothers me 8 years later. There is always something we can do. If we follow the direction of the spirit we will know the best ways to help.




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