I heard a couple of great talks at church Sunday, and I’ve been thinking about them off and on ever since. From reading blogs this week, it seems that the speakers, many sister bloggers, and I are all thinking along the same lines: We all need to do more to help our fellowman. It’s important all the time, but there’s something about our current economic situation that makes it seem even more imperative. Carl gave $20 to someone in the grocery store, and Hayden is filling and giving away backpacks to the homeless. In our ward, the Relief Society is collecting toothpaste and toothbrushes to help fill 72-hour kits for those less fortunate. What are you doing? Yes, you.

Time prohibits me from going into everything that was mentioned in the two talks that impressed me so much, Carol’s and Travis’s, so I’ll give the brief version. Carol included remarks from two of Elder Bednar’s recent conference addresses, both of which were about prayer. She emphasized the “pray AND act” aspects of the process.  When you pray for the missionary program around the world, does it stop there, or do you ACT to assist in the missionary effort? It’s not as hard as it seems; you could contribute to the missionary fund, sign up to feed the missionaries, write missionaries serving from your home ward, or perhaps help the missionaries find someone to teach.

When we pray for the sick and afflicted, the poor and the needy, is that where it ends, or do we actually DO something to help these people? When we pray for a sound, loving marriage, is that where the effort end, or do we get up off of our knees and actively strive to do things for our spouse? It’s the same with our children, our friends, and our parents; we want healthy relationships, but we’re not always willing to sacrifice time, thought, effort, and even money to make it happen.

Travis reminded us that we’re all brothers and sisters and that our obligations extend toward the human family and not just those within the walls of our home. Yes, of course, family comes first, but when what we have is “enough,” perhaps we can consider extending ourselves a bit beyond the immediate family. Regardless of skin color, checking account, profession, address, language, social status, religion, appearance, or hygiene, these people share the same Heavenly Father, and we’re  expected to help them.  

This is getting a bit lengthy, but I just have to include a phrase that I picked up years ago around the Christmas holiday season: the seasonal belch of philanthropy. For a short few weeks toward the end of the year, even Scrooges are more generous, but it doesn’t last very long.  The soup kitchen volunteers and the Salvation Army bell ringers are often right back into their “real lives” by January. I’m not being judgmental here. After all, I’m like that too.

However, starting Sunday, I’m making a conscious and ongoing effort to do something good for someone every single day. So far, what I’ve done is minimal, but I’m truly and sincerely on the lookout for ways to help a sister or brother along the way. Will you join me?