Friday, July 13, 2018

D&C 70:14 -- On Equality and Lifting

"Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld."
Doctrine and Covenants 70:14


Earlier in this section, God instructs that "inasmuch as they receive more than is needful for their necessities and their wants, it shall be given into my storehouse" (verse 7), and how no one is exempt from the law, and that it is true for temporal and spiritual stewardships.  Those are good clarifications, because when we are told to be equal, we come up with some very strong resistance sometimes... which I think God addresses here when he mentions "not grudgingly." :)

We live in a radically unequal world in so many ways, so how do we work on obeying this law, and the many others like it throughout the scriptures asking us to work on equality, and to be generous to everyone, both temporally and spiritually, and to not show more respect to any group or individual over another?

In verse 7 God makes it clear that we are free to take care of ourselves, our families, and any other stewardships that we have first, both spiritually and temporally.  I would say this includes tithing as first of all, since God's portion ensures the rest, and tithing is part of our personal obligations, not something we do if we feel that we have enough at the end of our budgets.  Spiritually as well, we need to make sure that we, our families, and our stewardships are on track. 

If we are, and temporally God does include some "wants" room beyond the bare bones of survival, then God expects us to share our abundance with others. He doesn't say exactly how, although there are multiple ways that the church offers to distribute money to others, and we likely have an abundance of opportunities around us to help people that we encounter as well. 

What the church does with our donations is exactly in line with what the Lord asks here.  They help send missionaries on missions, making sure that the burden on parents isn't different depending on where the missionaries go.  They build super nice buildings for people who are poor as well as those who are wealthy, in whatever country where people are found willing to attend.  They help people to gain an education, whatever their financial circumstances.  They lift people up, whoever they are, wherever they are. 

I think that is what God is asking of us individually as well, both as we participate in giving to those church programs, and as we help others around us.  God asks us not to be greedy with our largess, spiritually or temporally, but to offer whatever we have to others, sharing freely, caring about their lives and their success as much as we do our own.  Today, perhaps we should think about what we have to offer, both temporally and spiritually, and look for ways to give.  Maybe it is giving the money we would have spent on something frivolous to the church this week.  Maybe it is sharing our testimony with a friend.  As we serve people, God will bless us with his spirit and also temporally, lifting us as we lift others.

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