Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"As the gospel requires"

On the way to seminary each morning, we listen to scripture mastery songs to help my high school freshman memorize them. This week’s scripture is D&C 88:123-124. Verse 124 (“Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to sleep longer than is needful…”) is well known to me as it was the subject of my very first talk in church, a “concert recitation” in Sunday School on a Fast Sunday several months after our family’s baptism back when I was about nine.

But what has caught my ear this week came from verse 123: “learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.”

What does the gospel require us to impart one to another?

The injunction follows the charge to cease to be covetous, which also intrigues me. Does that suggest that when I fail to share my substance with another that I am coveting? I believe so. And do I relieve my responsibility to impart one to another by paying my fast offerings and tithing? I believe I do not.

To be sure there is one element of sharing which includes putting my surplus in the storehouse (like fast offerings). The welfare principles of the church teach that the storehouse from which the bishop may draw includes the Bishop’s Storehouse where food orders may be filled, but it also includes the pool of talents and resources available in the ward. My contribution to that storehouse may include my time to help unload the moving van for a single mom or it may include counseling with a widow about options for dealing with her home she can no longer afford.

Another welfare principle of the church is to help our families before they go to the church for help. Some years ago, my wife’s family established a family emergency fund to which family members contribute. Over time this money has been used to help specific family members in times of need.

King Benjamin’s great speech about retaining a remission of our sins reminds us that the gospel also requires us to help the poor when they ask, if we are able (see Mosiah 4:14-20).

I’m encouraged by the injunction in D&C 88:123, however. I am to learn to impart one to another. It has taken me quite some time in my life to learn the principles I have, and I continue to refine their application to my life.

How about you? What have you learned about imparting one to another as the gospel requires?


  1. Thanks for this thoughtful post and for the question posed at the end. One thing I have learned is the truthfulness of the Apostle Paul's words who said: "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor...and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing"(1 Cor. 13:3).

    Paul makes clear that to "impart one to another as the gospel requires" involves more than just performing the action. We are to love those we are serving. But to be honest, when I lack the gift of charity it becomes easier to hesitate and to hold back a portion, whether in time, talents, or means. Without charity, I may not perform the action at all. Thankfully, as you mentioned, I am to "learn" to do these things. And fortunately, we have the Savior to help us.

  2. Thanks for pointing out Paul's teaching. That notion of a changing heart (toward charity) seems to me to be one of the key points of our conversion.

  3. A phrase stood out to me from Jacob 2:17-19

    "Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance"

    We are to be familiar or like family with all. We are to think of them as ourselves, not "other". Compassion rather than indifference.