I’ve been out of work for the past 6 months. I’ve learned a lot. I had a good job and expected to help others with part of my paycheck. That has definitely changed. Now I’m on the other end, I need help. I’ve never been in a position to need, to ask for help. I think the Lord has had His hand in this. It has at least caused me to think.
I find it interesting that some friends and family will help me, but it’s conditional. They have a job for me to earn some money. Or they want to buy things for me, as if I don’t make good use of my agency. It’s not as common as, “I have some work for you.” Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind working for it, but I think we need to work to a point where we give unconditionally. God does. Think about it. “[F]or he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45) God gives freely to all, both the wicked and the righteous. He does not have conditions that need to be met first. This is why bad people may have success, beautiful families, and never a want in life. On the flip side, good people might have nothing but bad luck, tragic loss, and go bankrupt. Following Christ doesn’t guarantee an easy life.
While going through this I was approached by a family in need. I found myself hesitating to give them money and support in the way they wanted. I kept catching myself trying to control the way I gave assistance. I’ll buy you a room in this motel, I’ll buy you lunch over here, but not here. I’ll buy you a bus fare, but I don’t want to just give you money for gas and a ride with your supposed friend. It’s hard to trust others. It’s hard to respect their God given agency. However God has given His word to us through King Benjamin. (Mosiah 4:16–20)
“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.
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
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.
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?
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.”
This is God’s ideal. We are not to judge the beggar. We are to give and not allow them to petition in vain. Even if they deserve their plight, it don’t matter. I have friends who tell me I need to use discretion, or that King Benjamin lived in a different time and those things don’t apply like they used to. Well I’m sorry but you need to rethink your position. You are contradicting the most correct book on earth, the one given as a gift from God. The one if we abide by its precepts will draw us closer to God than any other book. By passing up a beggar we risk the chance that we are passing up an angel here to test our hearts. (Heb 13:2) Imagine passing up the chance to serve the Lord as He disguises Himself amongst us here on the earth. (Luke 24:15–16)