Thursday, March 16, 2017

Deuteronomy 15:10-11 -- On Giving

"Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.
For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."
Deuteronomy 15:10-11

The whole idea of giving is an interesting one, isn't it?  I mean, God is all powerful and stuff, so if he really wanted to, he could have divided everything perfectly evenly, and arranged things even now so that we all get an even share.  Instead, with this as with all other things, he allows us to choose. Thus, some people get more and some people get less.  Not necessarily only through their own choices, although of course that plays into it, but because of the choices of so many other people.

We are all participants in our society and the way that it handles (and creates) poverty.  And what we have chosen unfortunately results in a lot of poverty for people who can't choose otherwise.  Children are the largest example, but there are many, many other examples of people who can't escape the circumstances of their lives because they never have a path to something better (at least financially), perhaps because of limited opportunities for education, for employment, or just because of health problems for themselves or someone in the family that has put them well past the point where they can afford anything at all.

God asks us to correct this imbalance through giving to and helping each other.  It's a giant thing to ask--an eternal quest--up there with perfection, which he also asks, and pray always, which always seems like we need to do it a little more. :)  He asks us to build Zion... to be Zion people, and one of the significant aspects of Zion is that there is no poor among them.  It says right here that "the poor shall never cease out of the land," so Zion is another eternal quest.

Eternal quests though, at least with God, aren't ones that are actually impossible.  They just seem that way because they always remain out of reach while we're learning so that we keep learning and striving for them, but the realization of all of the possibilities and perfection is baked into God's plan.  It *will* happen.  It just kind of depends on us how long it will take.  How long will it take us to learn as a society... as humanity, to take care of each other?  (I'm not advocating for one side or another politically by the way... I have no idea whether God wants us to use the government as a means to require redistribution of wealth or not.  I just know that he asks / commands us, individually and collectively, to give.)

Today, let's consider the commandment to give.  It is both a request and a commandment, like so many other things.  A request because God always allows us our free agency, and a commandment, if we choose to accept and acknowledge God's authority over us and we want to be part of what he offers.  Then we have to do as he asks, in order to find our way to becoming the people that he promises us that we can be.  There are some pretty fantastic blessings attached to it as well.  Being blessed in all our works and all that we put our hands to?  Wow.  That's pretty sweet. Maybe even if we are a little poor, we should give to those who are a lot poor so we can tap into some of those blessings. :)  And as we give, let's also consider the idea of giving, and what it is teaching us... why God chooses to make the world better through our generosity to our fellow man.  And as we learn the lessons that God has to teach us in that area, let's spread them, and use our new blessings to bless others in a never-ending cycle that will eventually lead to Zion. :)

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