A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Caring for the Poor, Part 2

God has asked us to pay tithes and offerings, and most Christians give some kind of offering to the church they attend. So how does the Lord want us to spend the money?
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:8-10
I’ve read this scripture many times, and it’s helped me to believe in the importance of paying tithes and offerings, but I missed the message in verse 10. I didn’t see that the purpose of these tithes and offerings is to put meat in the Lord’s house.
Meat is flesh of animal consumed as food. Some other synonyms for meat are: food, nourishment, provision, and sustenance.
It looks like Lord is asking us to take care of and feed the poor with our tithes and offerings. Yet I see most of the tithing money in churches going toward: buildings, administrative costs, salaries, etc. I’m starting to give this matter serious thought. I think it is a pretty important one to think about.
I was talking to my daughter after she read the post on Mega Churches – Robbing the Poor . She asked, “What can we do to care for the poor?” That’s a really good question. I’ve paid tithes and offerings my whole life, but how do I know if my tithes and offerings are being used to help the poor? Not just that, but am I searching for ways to help the poor? I can do better.
“Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them?” Alma 5:55
“And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.” Doctrine and Covenants 52:40
Mormon rebukes those who profess to belong to the holy church of God. What is he saying?
“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing . . . your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? . . . Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?” Mormon 8:35-39
I wonder if someone should get paid for teaching the word of God? What if it’s their job? What if it’s their full-time responsibility? I don’t know all the answers, but as I think about it, the story of King Benjamin comes to mind. He was a great king and teacher who restored peace in the land and brought his people into the presence of the Lord.
“I say unto you that as I have been suffered to spend my days in your service, even up to this time, and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you . . . and have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord, in all things which he hath commanded you— And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne . . .“Mosiah 2: 12-14
Mosiah followed in the footsteps of his father. “And king Mosiah did cause his people that they should till the earth. And he also, himself, did till the earth, that thereby he might not become burdensome to his people, that he might do according to that which his father had done in all things. And there was no contention among all his people for the space of three years.” Mosiah 6:7
In Alma chapter 1 we see the contrast between the teachings of false priests and the people of God.
“And [Nehor} had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people.” Alma 1:3
Contrast this to . . .
“And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength. And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.” Alma 1:26-27
Why would someone want to give to the poor? Is doing it for Christ’s sake a good reason?
. . . others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy; Alma 4:13
Is being redeemed from our lost and fallen state a good reason?
“Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now. But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;” Doctrine and Covenants 105:2-3 also see Mosiah 4:26
Is the promise of the Lord opening the windows of heaven to bless us a good reason?
“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” Proverbs 19:17
“. . . and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:8-10
Is living in the presence of Christ and being happy a good reason?
“And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.” 4 Nephi 1:3
“. . . and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” 4 Nephi 1:16
Whatever the reason, there are people who are suffering. I can do a better of job of helping others.

See also: Mega Churches – Robbing the Poor, Part 1

Photo Sources: Mother Teresa, Boy sitting on tracks , Children holding bowls, Three little boys, Mother with two children 

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