Friday, October 17, 2008

Winter Warmth

It’s Friday, October 17, 2008

Another guessing game.

When you look at the picture above, what feelings, memories and emotions come to mind?

If you’re like me and mine, you perhaps remember times with family and friends playing games, watching a favorite movie, and just enjoying one another’s company.

For too many others, however, such good feelings are rare.

They may have the same types of memories, but those memories are dim. They are now in a position where they wonder if they will ever again feel the warmth of either humanity or a crackling fire in a real home.

While you and I sit snugly at home, wrapped up in a comforter, watching our favorite DVD, there are people outside our homes trying desperately to stay warm.

They stuff old newspaper in their clothing. They sleep under old coats and moth-bitten blankets. They are relegated to homeless shelters, children’s’ shelters or battered women’s shelters.

Sometimes, they can find no shelter.

While we are warm and comfortable, having some semblance of normalcy and sanity in our day to day living, they struggle to find any type of normalcy and security.

Many of the rest of society (sometimes you and me included), treat them as second-class citizens. We look down on them, wondering why they don’t do something to change their circumstances. By our actions, and sometimes our words, spoken and unspoken, we let them know we are better than they are.

Is this how we should treat our fellow brothers and sisters?

An old wise king named Benjamin once chided his people for such attitudes and actions.

From his tower at the temple, he taught:

“And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

“Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

“But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

“And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.

“And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

“And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

“I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

“And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

“And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.” (Mosiah 4:16-25)

Now, if you’ve read this far (and I hope you have), here is your challenge:

This weekend, starting today, see if you can find one or two of something warm to deliver to a shelter. It can be a battered woman’s shelter, a children’s shelter or a homeless shelter.

In most US cities, you can dial 211 to find donation centers and shelter locations.

What to give?

Do you have an old blanket you no longer use?

How about buying a few pairs of socks?

Has anyone in your household stopped wearing a flannel shirt? A pair of warm boots? Trousers?

Are you buying new coats for the fall and winter season? How about donating your old coats?

If you want to take it a step further, why don't you call a friend or two and ask for their help. Get some cardboard boxes and make it a group project.

I’m so grateful that I have a warm home to go to at the end of the workday. I know you are, too.

Let’s really try to make a difference with this challenge.

We can make a real difference!

It’s cold outside, and it’s going to get colder. The economic times are hitting everyone hard. Heating bills are going up. Income is going down.

Let’s do this, and be grateful for what we have.

Thank you so much for reading today’s challenge. I really appreciate you and your efforts to pass the word along.

May you stay warm in your home and in your heart for being willing to try.

Remember, Service is the Action Form of Love!


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