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.” (Tambuli, December 1984, p. 6.)
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 benefits 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 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.
Welfare service has a deep spiritual purpose. We grow in love and testimony when we serve others, fulfilling our stewardship as members of the Lord’s church. The Lord reaffirmed this in the Doctrine and Covenants: “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.)
1. Tell about experiences in your life when the principles of welfare service have blessed you and your family.
2. Discuss ways that the concept of welfare service can be taught to family members.
3. Express your feelings concerning the spiritual nature of welfare teachings.