Saturday, June 6, 2015

3 Nephi 12:42 -- On Challenging Commandments and Building Zion

"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away."
3 Nephi 12:42

Almost the same verse is found in Matthew 5:42 as well.  It's the same area that asks us to love our enemies and to be perfect.  So, definitely, this is one of the more challenging things that God asks us to do.  I think it makes sense along with the rest of the challenging things though, if we think about building an ideal society, or how we affect our current society as a group... if everyone hated people back, the world would get worse, not better.  So, it makes sense for God to ask us to learn to love our enemies.  And a world where everyone refuses to share would end up pretty bad as well too.  So, God asks us to give.  Yes, indeed, it is a hard thing to do sometimes.  We have ownership issues, and we often feel like things are still ours after we give them away... we don't want to give to someone who isn't going to take care of whatever it is like we would.  And it is completely true that sometimes when we give, our money or items or time or whatever it is could be misused or unappreciated.  ... but the idea is getting closer and closer to perfection.  Making things better rather than worse.  Thinking about what we do in terms of whether we are improving the world, or worsening it.
In Zion, the ideal city that was taken to heaven and which will be restored in the last days sometime, there were no poor people.  Not because God forced people to share, but because they love each other, and they want to take care of each other.  They chose to give.  They chose to love, and forgive.  And if we want to build the kind of society that those people can return to, we need to figure out how they did it... how they thought, why they did what they did.  The cool thing is that they obeyed God, so we know that we are on the right track if we are working on that.
I wonder how God feels about the things that he has given us.  Life itself, our bodies, this earth, our friends, our families, and all of our blessings.  It's a good thing indeed that he gives to us when we ask, rather than refusing to give when he knows that we are going to misuse our gift.  Otherwise, none of us would be here in the first place. :)  Let's work on emulating our divine example, and let's really try to step up and be much more than we have been.  Let's work on some of these hard things, and give and love and serve, even when it is hard or seems unrewarding.  We're making ourselves into Zion people. :)

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