Monday, December 21, 2015

2 Corinthians 8:13-14 -- On Equality

"For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:"
2 Corinthians 8:13-14

I really like the idea of equality here, that in helping people and in a community of believers... in building Zion, that is how it should be.  I think that the problem usually is that in our society I'm not sure if we really want equality at all.  Instead, everyone wants preferential treatment.  We want people to see our worth and we want to be on top... but we don't usually take the time to see other people's worth and lift them up.  And the problem in a system like ours isn't that we want good things... it is that when we focus on ourselves we're encouraging society to be divided rather than united.  It's like we're the puzzle pieces from a partially completed jigsaw puzzle and we're against fitting in with everyone else, because we can't be a corner, or we didn't get the good part of the picture, or that piece next to us is a little bent, and we refuse to be seen with him.
We're all different shapes and different sizes.  We all have our own personalities and view of the world, and all of them can be good... but we become more than we could ever be alone when we join with others to create a community like Paul describes... where everyone is taking care of everyone else, and filling in the places where we fall short or are in need.
In Matthew 20, Christ gives the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, and in verse 12 it says "These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day."  Equality, again... but the laborers are complaining about it.  They don't want to be equal... they want more.  And our society reinforces that way of thinking constantly.  We've grown up thinking that way... we don't see a thing wrong with it.  After all, if I do more, shouldn't I get more?  And I'm not saying that we should throw away our belief in the value of work... far from it.  But I do think that we might be looking at things from the wrong perspective.  From a gospel/eternal perspective, "are we not all beggars?" (Mosiah 4:19).  In our mortal lives we justify ourselves a lot because we do more, and so we deserve more, and we often overlook or try not to think about people that are less fortunate than we are.  But if we switch it up, realizing that compared to God every single one of us is basically a beggar... homeless, relying on God for everything that we receive every day, maybe it makes a difference.  Maybe it can help us see things the other way around, and realize that things look a lot different when we're the ones needing help, and not able to satisfy our own needs.  Maybe the puzzle seems a lot more comforting and worth completing that way.
Today, let's work on building a community.  Let's work to help others, and let's try to step back and rethink what equality means, from someone else's perspective, and from God's perspective.  Let's help each other and find ways to strengthen each other's weaknesses... making the world better, and becoming equal in love, in joy, and in salvation.

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