An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Giving ’til It Hurts

Several years ago when George was an ordinance worker at the Jordan River Temple, another worker showed up for prayer meeting in a spiffy, new white suit. During prayer meeting he asked the counselor in the temple presidency how to go about donating his old suit to a worker in a new temple in a developing country. “Why don’t you donate your new suit to the brother in the new temple?” the counselor replied.

Shock and disbelief registered on the faces of the questioner and most of the group. Instead of praise for his generosity, the owner of the new suit received implicit criticism. The counselor, however, was on the same page as C.S Lewis who, when asked how much a good Christian should give, said, “I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. . . . There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them.” (Mere Christianity)

Sobering thoughts—giving away what we want for ourselves. And the tricky part, of course, is distinguishing between our needs and our wants.

Charity, defined as “the pure love of Christ” (Moro.7:47), is obviously more than donating items we no longer want to the poor. Maybe true charity is working to create a system that equalizes, not income, but opportunity.

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Comments on: "Giving ’til It Hurts" (2)

  1. Wow. I’m going to have to think long and hard about this post. Will share it with my husband and we will Buddhize it together. Thanks for provoking the conversation!
    (I had forgotten about the white suits.)

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