RS/MP Lesson 20: “Temporal Salvation for Ourselves and Others” (George Albert Smith Manual)
Posted by kirkcaudle on October 13, 2012
Find the entire lesson here
When speaking about those in need President Smith said, “They are all [God’s] children. They need us; they need not only our moral support and our religious teaching, but they need food and clothing and bedding and help of all kinds because, in many cases, they haven’t anything left.”
The gospel is not just about sitting around a room (or on-line) and talking about doctrine, it is about getting out and doing something. Does this “doing something” save us? No. However, it does show us where our hearts are. “We will discover now whether the love the Savior said should be in our hearts is among us,” President Smith said. I believe that we will discover this when we look inside of ourselves and we are honest about our desire to serve others. We should always be “anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58:27).
D&C 68:31, “Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.”
What is it about working that is so important to the Lord? What counts as work? For example, say I work at a job where I pretty much just sit around most of the time and it is not at all stressful or active. I might be at “work” but maybe I am rarely “working.” My job could be work in name only.
There is nothing wrong with these forms of employment of course, I myself have been at these types of jobs, especially during the overnight shifts. On the other hand, what about the person that inherits 10 million dollars and is not employed but works around the house, yard, etc. all day. That person is actually “working” and yet has no employment/job.
When we talk about work in the Church are we talking about employment or are we talking about something else? Could yard work, charity work, temple work, exercising, etc. all be considered work also? After all, the people that engage regularly in these activities are often not “idlers,” or at least I do not think they are.
16 Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!
17 Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!
18 But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.
C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity (one of my favorite books), “If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditures excludes them.” In other words, we should give until it hurts. I believe that this is true whether we are rich or whether we are poor. If we are just giving other people our “leftovers,” then we are just being nice and not actually performing charity. We actually need to give something up/sacrifice something for it to be a truly charitable act, imo. God does not ask us to give of our excess, He ask us to give up ourselves. Most of us are not ready to do this. I know that I rarely am.
This sacrifice can come in more ways than just financial. President Smith said, “Think of what the suffering will be if we who are more fortunate are not generous with the substance God has placed in our hands—not only the substance, but if we withhold from his children the word of encouragement and helpfulness and fail to visit in the homes where there are so many in need and give what it is possible for each one of us to give.” We can sacrifice our time if we do not have the money. Let me relate a personal story.
Years ago, our stake held a stake temple day of service. The Stake President asked everyone in the stake to attend the temple on this day and pretty much stay for the duration of the work that needed done. The Stake President scheduled this temple service day on a Tuesday from early morning until late afternoon. The Stake President knew that people would be working and that some people would be upset by this inconvenient time. He told us that if we would make plans in advance to be there that we would be blessed. He understood that not everyone would be able to make it, but he hoped that most would work it out. He asked us to sacrifice, pay for babysitters, take vacation days from work, take a day off without pay, skip our sporting events, etc.
I took this challenge. I took the day off work. I used a day that I would usually use to spend doing something “fun” for myself, doing what “I” wanted to do. Now, I did not magically receive a check in the mail, or have some booming spiritual revelation about things, but I did have the best experience that I have ever had in the temple that day. I spent a good 8 hours doing temple work and I had never felt better. I know many in the stake that also sacrificed to be there that day felt the same. I’ve never regretted my decision to attend the temple that day.
My point is that whether not the people in the stake were rich or poor our goal was the same, sacrifice for the sake of others. The rich had to “give [their] substance,” because they paid for most of our lunches :) and the poor needed “eyes [not] full of greediness” because a good number of them took that day off work without pay.
As President Smith said, God’s children need us and we need to gain a desire to help them. As members of the Church we need to get out of our houses more and sacrifice for others. Doing this will go a long way in realizing our goal of temporal salvation for ourselves and others.