During the Saturday session of LDS October 2014 General Conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a very inspirational talk titled “Aren’t We Not All Beggars?” He starts his talk with a very strong statement:
Down through history, poverty has been one of humankind’s greatest and most widespread challenges. Its obvious toll is usually physical, but the spiritual and emotional damage it can bring may be even more debilitating.
He goes on to discuss the marvelous work of Mother Teresa in Calcutta. Elder Holland then exhorts everyone to do as much as we can for the poor:
I don’t know exactly how each of you should fulfill your obligation to those who do not or cannot always help themselves. But I know that God knows, and He will help you and guide you in compassionate acts of discipleship if you are conscientiously wanting and praying and looking for ways to keep a commandment [to help the poor] He has given us again and again.
He goes to point out that all of us may be just a whisper away from poverty:
I have had to worry about finances on occasion, but I have never been poor, nor do I even know how the poor feel. Furthermore, I do not know all the reasons why the circumstances of birth, health, education, and economic opportunities vary so widely here in mortality, but when I see the want among so many, I do know that “there but by the grace of God go I.”
For me, the essence of worshiping God is loving and helping your neighbor, particularly those in need. And I’m pretty sure God has a very broad definition of the word “neighbor.” His talk was well received on the bloggernacle.
An excellent companion piece to Elder Holland’s talk was written by Tracy M and can be read here.