Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Building the Kingdom of God

I have been thinking what the phrase "Building the Kingdom of God" means. Instantly the thought of bringing people into the fold, sharing the gospel and having people baptized and then recieve all their saving ordinances was my answer. The natural course of my pondering led me to wonder HOW do we do that. Well, we proselytize, hoping that the spirit will be carried through our words. We also talk about being an example. We hold the family in high regard and we encourage family unity, love and support regardless of religious beliefs. So what else is part of this example we should be setting?

I have been thinking about President Monson's talk from Sunday first session General Conference. He talked about service, and serving in love. So when I think of how to be a good example and how to build the kingdom of God, I think I've got to practice what my religion preaches. I have to serve, I have to give, I have to support ideas and legislation that support love, equality, sharing, giving, and service. I have to truly reach out to the world (not just members of my church) and give.

Our church has an amazing humanitarian aid program that helps people all over the world regardless of their religion. Our local stakes, wards, and members should follow that example and reach out to our communities regardless of religious affiliation. We were reminded during conference to bare one anothers burdens. What does that mean, and who does it include? To me, it means we help shoulder the load that others carry whatever that may be. Whether it be financial, emotional, physical, or spiritual, etc. Of course what people need will be different, which is why we were also reminded several times during conference to seek the guidance of the spirit. It is not what we WANT to do for people, it is what THEY need. We no longer live in a cloistered community. We are and should be active participants in our society's and communities. We should be expanding our circle of influence and serving and bearing burdens and mourning and comforting ALL who stand in need of those things, not just the LDS.

I find it so easy for me to say "I paid my fast offering, now I am done." or "Well the Church helps its members" etc. No, fast offerings are not enough and we should care to help every person who needs help and not just pawn our responsibility off on the church as an organization. We should want to lift all up so that they may see what we believe. Pretty words and sentiments are hollow and pointless without our concerted efforts to make true on those promises of brotherhood, love, service, equality, and charity. As Elder Bednard pointed out, we should not be hypocrites. And I believe we should be examining our lives and actions constantly so that we do not fall into that trap.

Recently, the association for foreign exchange students at UVU was trying to raise money for a Mongolian girl who was diagnosed with lukemia. Luckily the hospital was willing to provide one month of chemo, but after that she would have to come up with the money. She could get a bonemarrow transplant that would give her a 60% chance of survival, but she has to pay the $350,000 up front. She went to the Hunstman cancer Institute, but they can not (or will not) help her because she is not an American citizen. She can not get help from Church because she is not affiliated with one. (For more information go to

The Savior told us that when we serve, feed, clothe, etc THE LEAST OF THESE, that we do those things to God. Who is "the least of these"? Does that refer to an amount or status? I believe status. What kind of status? The least being the poorest or the less well known or the weakest? Sure, I think it could be looked at like that. But I think it also means the least of those who we think deserve it.

The least repentant, hard hearted, angry person needs love and forgiveness. The laziest or drunkest or drug abuser needs to be fed and clothed and given medical attention even if they put themselves in that position. The person who broke the most laws still needs to protected by the law. The person who gambeled away his house needs to be sheltered. Those who are not citizens need to be cared for and given all the assistance that citizens expect to receive.

I think of Gods warning that by the same judgment we cast on others we will be judged accordingly. What does that mean? yes, it means don't judge people, be charitable in thoughts etc. I think it also means, if we are willing to deny people ANYTHING because we do not agree with them or because we claim they do not deserve it, we stand in great jeopardy of that same thing happening to us one day. And I don't mean in the next life. If we are willing to pass judgment that a person or group of people is unworthy of healthcare, legal services, marriage, or choice ... then we must be aware that at anytime those tables can be turned where we are the ones that are no longer worthy.

I can only follow Gods commandment, love my neighbor as myself. Follow the Golden Rule, and NOT do to others what I DON'T want done to me. It doesn't matter what side of right I sit on, I can only love, give people their choice, and then catch them when they fall, love them more if they fall, and do all I can to heal their wounds. I don't want to be the one judging or deciding who is worthy of help and who isn't. So I will try to give it to all, to the very least of them. I will support ideas, movements, and legislations that promote love, giving, sharing, service, and charity. That is how I will build the kingdom of God.

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