Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"The Sanctifying Work of Welfare" -- Bishop H. David Burton

Often, as a "poor, starving college student" I forget about the important work of administering to the poor. The fact is, that everyone can give something.

President Heber J. Grant wanted to stress the importance of welfare, and said they would go so far as to "close the seminaries, shut down missionary work for a period of time, or even close the temples, but they would not let the people go hungry."

This puts things more into perspective for me. I go to institute every week, I served a full-time mission, and I attend the temple once a week. But when was the last time I administered to the poor and needy? That effort, on my part, needs to be more frequent.

Bishop Burton ends his talk with this thought:

"[Serving the poor] 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 fine Him doing were He here among us today."

In Christ's time, I believe poverty probably looked a lot like it does today. Probably people begged on the street corners, slept in alleyways, and went hungry each night.

I think we can be quick to assume that administering to the needy was somehow easier for Christ because He is the Savior. But the fact is, we have the opportunity to become saviors to those people who most need our help.

When I was little and we were living in California, seeing people begging to cars at stop lights was a very common sight. Because of the prevalence, the Relief Society sisters came together and made food kits in gallon Ziplock bags including assortments of foods and necessities. Inside was also placed a pass-along card with a picture of Jesus Christ.

One afternoon, as we were stopped at a read light, a man had a sign indicating he was hungry and needed help. My mom had me pass the bag up to her and she handed it to the man through her window.

The man had tears in his eyes. He first thanked us so sincerely, then fell to his knees and thanked God for this miracle. The instance humbled us immediately. I will never forget that man's reaction.

Being ready and willing to help is much of the problem. We must be ready and willing before an opportunity arises to give, or Satan will do his best to steer us into selfishness.

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