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Are We Not All Beggars?


A few Sundays back my husband headed off to church early.

As he approached the front doors he was stopped by two women with a baby and child in tow. They were asking for money to feed their children. As they did not look familiar at all, in fact, even foreign in dress, he asked them where they were from.

Romania.

Having some familiarity with the Romanian culture (one of my sons served a mission there, and in Moldova) my dear husband asked them if they were gypsies.

Offended a bit, they claimed, "No, no."

Now, my husband is the first to hand out money, buy wilting roses from the guy at the intersection, bags of oranges from the vendor at the street corner, or assist other park dwellers that claim they need $16.43 for a chicken dinner for their family.
However skeptical he may be, he generally offers assistance (and sometimes a $20 bill) and never worries about how it will be used.
I must admit, I have a difficult time giving that much away.

In this situation, because it was Sunday and he does not usually take money to church, or even carry his wallet, he tells the young Romanian women to wait so he can go get them something. They are hesitant, claiming that Mormons only take care of their own, and then asked if he could simply direct them to the nearest Catholic church. Naturally my husband wanted to prove them wrong, and hustled home to get them some food.

Ironically enough, this particular Sunday was one of the first Sundays in a long time that I had actually gotten up early and made "Chicken Rosemary" for dinner. I was surprised to hear him back home again, ladling up some of our meal and putting it into a plastic container.

Instead of saying, (which certainly came to my mind first) "Hey, what are you doing with our dinner?", I handed him a loaf of bread and an unopened jar of peanut butter to contribute to his efforts.

He found the women still waiting, and offered them a grocery bag of food and some cash. They asked him what time church got out, hoping they could catch some other members to contribute to their cause, but were a little taken aback when they heard it would be three hours. Directions to the Catholic church were accepted and my husband went into our meeting.

After the first hour he stepped outside to see if they were still there. Sure enough, they were sitting on the grass, eating the bread and feeding the chicken to their young ones. (I must admit... I kind of expected them to chuck the food and keep the cash.)

By the third hour, they had long disappeared.

This I have learned --- it is not my call to decide if they really needed the money. The money I have is truly a gift. God gives us the opportunities, talents and situations where we can "earn" money.

Then, we work by faith -- faith that if we work hard and not hoard the money that flows to us, we will have more than enough. The test is not only for the beggars, but for us.
Are we willing to part with the money we often believe we have earned through our own efforts?

It is much easier to give, believing that in a way it has been given to us as well.

Should we be careful to not give our money to those bums that will drink it all away? Or should we not be guilty of judging those “who putteth up his petition to you for your substance...and condemn him.." (Mosiah 4)

It is especially hard when you have struggled for so long and are yourselves in debt. Some may say it is stupid. or fruitless to make an effort to assist others in such a situation. I could certainly rationalize that until I pay all my debts I cannot give, or maybe just say in my heart I would if I could. Yet, will I then turn around and buy something for myself that I know I could have gone without?

Some principles of the gospel are easier to read about than to practice.

I must not forget that I am a beggar as well, calling upon God to help me, for just about everything.

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Deila is the mom of five kids who looks for the deeper meaning of life’s joys and struggles on planet earth. You can find her in: Eve out of the Garden, at http://deilataylor.blogspot.com.

 
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