Objective: To understand that love is the foundation of welfare service.
Welfare service is love in action. President Spencer W. Kimball said, “The measure of our love for our fellowman and, in a large sense, the measure of our love for the Lord, is what we do for one another and for the poor and distressed.” (Ensign, Aug. 1984, p. 4.)
Love is central to welfare service. We are admonished in the Book of Mormon to “Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
“But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
“And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; … to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” (Jacob 2:17–19.)
Love manifests itself in service to others, and this service, in turn, sanctifies both those who give and those who receive. “There is an interdependence between those who have and those who have not,” said President Marion G. Romney. “The process of giving exalts the poor and humbles the rich. … Both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by imparting of their surplus, participate in the eternal principle of giving. Once a person has been made … self-reliant, he reaches out to aid others, and the cycle repeats itself.” (Ensign, June 1984, p. 6.)
A young couple lost all of their household belongings when flood waters filled their neighborhood. Volunteers dug mud and rocks out of their home. Food, clothing, and temporary shelter were provided; the Relief Society replaced many necessary household goods. Because of this service, an incredible bond of love developed between those who helped and those who received. The Relief Society president felt that one of the purposes of Relief Society—sustaining and supporting one another—had been realized; the young couple, deeply touched by this outpouring of love and emotional support, expressed their desire to help others.
Welfare service has a deep spiritual purpose. We grow in love and testimony when we serve others, fulfilling our responsibilities as representatives of the Lord’s church upon the earth. The Lord reaffirmed this in Doctrine and Covenants 29:34: “All things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal.” [D&C 29:34]
“Outwardly, every act seems to be directed toward the physical,” stated President David O. McKay, “Canning fruits and vegetables, storing foodstuffs, … but permeating all these acts … is the element of spirituality.”
President McKay then related spiritual development to welfare service: “The development of our spiritual nature should concern us most. Spirituality is the highest acquisition of the soul, the divine in man. … Adversity … may lead toward … God and spiritual enlightenment; and privation may prove a source of strength if we can but keep the sweetness of mind and spirit.” (Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 103.)
Discuss ways that the concepts of welfare service can be taught to family members.
Share your feelings concerning the spiritual nature of welfare teachings.
(See Family Home Evening Resource Book, pp. 106–8 and 224–25 for related materials.)