Today I was reading around Alma 1-3, when I read about how the people rejoiced in the Lord and imparted of their substance to the poor and needy. I feel like in todays world many people have become self-absorbed and cannot look past their own wants. They assume someone else will help the poor beggar holding the sign in the street. They even may decide that the beggar is a drunkard and isn't worthy of their help. They may feel that service is good, but that they just don't have time for it.
In reality, serving others actually creates joy in our hearts. I am sure my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents can relate. They love serving my cousins, siblings, and me and in return we are each trying to be the best person we can be.
From the good examples set in my family, I know what it is like to serve those who need me. I like to start with the donations at the grocery store line. So what if I already gave them one dollar earlier in the week towards a foundation? I'm sure I could handle giving one more. It's about 1/9 of the pay I get for one hour. I can work an extra 1/9 of an hour for that foundation!
Another place to start is with beggars on the streets. As Mosiah says, "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...?" (Mosiah 4:16-19, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Christ).
What Mosiah is saying is that we should help those than need our help. We should give to the beggars. We may think we should leave the beggar alone because it's his life. He's an alcoholic. He'll spend his money on liquor. Do we really know that? I don't think so.
Mosiah reiterates that we are all beggars and God is our succorer, so we should succor the beggars in our lives. My boyfriend's brother, Elder Justin U. is currently serving in Canada. One day on the way to the bus, he and his companion noticed a beggar man calling for money on the streets. Elder U. reached into his pocket to pull out money to give the beggar and all he found was $20 bill. He gave the man the money and as he walked away, the beggar played the harmonica and sang a song about how the missionaries are angels. Later Elder U. realized he had given the man their bus money and for a few hours the two asked around or begged for four quarters in order to board the bus. Elder U. ended his letter with a positive remark about how we are all beggars and quoted Mosiah 4.
What can we gain from this story? First of all, recognize the joy in the beggar man as Elder U. and his companion gave him that money. Second of all, the two men had a chance to be in beggars' shoes for a few hours as they asked for quarters for the bus. We can learn from this that not all beggars are out to get money to do sinful things. Third, service helped bring joy to Elder U. We see this throughout his positive message and his remark at the end.
I challenge all of us to look for more ways to serve others. It's easy to impart of your money. What about your time? Do you think you could give a timely commitment to help someone each week? Pray and seek for revelation on how to be more of service to God and his children. Do what you feel is right and don't forget that each person on earth is a child of the Most Divine God.
P.S. Remember, if it's not Celestial, forget about it!