Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Giving Within Our Means

In her talk, “I Was a Stranger,” Sister Linda K. Burton emphatically encouraged us to reach out to serve others, but what surprised me was how she reminded us that we don't necessarily have to reach out very far. God has always asked His children to serve each other, but He never asks anyone to exceed their own abilities. As Sister Burton put it,
Each member of this worldwide sisterhood has covenanted at baptism to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” Yet we must remember that none of us should run faster than we have strength.
Of course, we should do what we can to help others, but we each have our own limitations. There are some things that we cannot do, even if we feel we should. What God expects of us is that we work within our limitations to serve others. Sister Burton told us about how "The Savior lovingly acknowledged the widow whose contribution was only two mites because she did what she could." We may only have two mites that we can spare, but if we give according to our means, it will be enough.

We don't have to break the bank to serve sufficiently, and we don't have to go far out of our way to do it, either. Sister Burton told the story of a woman who organized a quilt drive and drove a truck full of quilts from her home in London over 1000 miles to the country of Kosovo. On her way back, she felt a distinct impression that said “What you have done is a very good thing. Now go home, walk across the street, and serve your neighbor!”

As Sister Cheryl A. Esplin said, "service doesn’t have to be big and grandiose to be meaningful and make a difference." We can serve those in our own neighborhoods in our own small way, and it will be counted as good. There are instances of great need, where members of the church band together to perform great acts of service, but from each individual member, God never asks for more than we can give. There is great service that we can do from home. Even if all we do is give to Fast and other charitable offerings, we can say that we are doing our part.

If you have an excess, in terms of money, time, or ability, perhaps you can and should give accordingly, but we can all take comfort in knowing that God never asks us to give more than the excess of what we, ourselves, have been given.

1 comment:

Barbara Robarts said...

That is comforting. We should stretch a little, but not stretch too far. Sometimes it is hard to know. If we are on the edge of tears, pull back. If we are feeling pretty comfortable, give a little more.