Sunday, August 10, 2014

Alma 32:8-11 -- On Wealth and Worship

"I behold that ye are lowly in heart; and if so, blessed are ye.
Behold thy brother hath said, What shall we do?—for we are cast out of our synagogues, that we cannot worship our God.
Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only?
And moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week?"
Alma 32:8-11

This is an amazing chapter.  In this particular part of it, a group of people comes to talk to Alma.  They were forbidden from coming to church "because of the coarseness of their apparel."  In other words, they didn't have the money for nice clothes, so they couldn't go to church.  Alma has some good advice for them, including that being poor can work in our favor sometimes, if we let the enforced humility (being lowly in heart, or sad because of our circumstances) bring us to real humility (coming to God, repenting, etc.).  The thing that strikes me overall is that Alma didn't become outraged at the oppression that these people were living under.  He didn't rage and encourage them to form committees and petition the government.  Instead, he accepted the reality of their situation, and encouraged them to look at it in a different way... to look at the forced humility as a blessing and an opportunity, and to work around the fact that they couldn't go inside those particular church buildings... because it didn't matter.  They could still worship God, as can we all, every day of the week.  This, of course, is not to say that God doesn't want us to attend church.  I believe very strongly that he does want us to attend.  But if we're forbidden to go one place, that shouldn't stop us from continuing to worship and to live as we should. :)
Today, let's try to think like Alma.  Instead of raging against our circumstances or against the injustices that we face, let's look at them not as limitations, but as opportunities.  Maybe we're learning humility, or love, or how to relate to more kinds of people.  Whatever it is, there *is* something there to learn, and our opportunities to get closer to God and to serve him are intact.  Let's turn our enforced humility into sincere repentance.  Let's find God in everything around us, *and* at church.  Let's not be upset that we aren't rich or start coveting nice clothes.  Let's just be clean, and come unto God with whatever we do have.  And let's remember on the other side to love other people and not forbid them from hanging out with us... even if they can't afford the best.

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