Give Even When Your Need Is Great

Reading: “Adversity,” President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the General Presidency, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

In the current hard times faced by many people across the world, it may be hard to think of giving.  After all, if you are suffering yourself then it seems as if you shouldn’t be required to also help others since you don’t have much to give.  In this talk, however, Elder Eyring encourages us to do just that:

That may seem much to ask of people in such great need themselves. But I know one young man who was inspired to do that very thing early in his marriage. He and his wife were barely getting by on a tiny budget. But he saw another couple even poorer than they were. To the surprise of his wife, he gave help to them from their scanty finances. A promised blessing of peace came while they were still in their poverty. The blessing of prosperity beyond their fondest dreams came later. And the pattern of seeing someone in need, someone with less or in pain, has never ceased.

Today when I was running errands a woman came to me and asked for cash to buy some gas to get home.  I hardly ever carry any cash with me, so while I would have been more than happy to give her some cash I didn’t have any.  After she left, as I was preparing to drive away, the thought came that I could offer to drive with her to the gas station and buy gas for her (she had said she only had just enough gas to get to the gas station).  However, I also thought of how my own husband was waiting for me to get home so I could let him into our apartment (his keys were locked inside) and how my one year old was very hungry and very tired, our errand having run long past lunch time and nap time.  In the end I decided to go ahead and go home, reasoning that surely she would find someone else who could help her.  As I read this talk I realized that I missed out on the opportunity to do real service for someone.  I now wish I would have chosen to offer my time, rather than running on my way.

Today I am going to pray for help recognizing need around me, and for help to have the courage and correct attitude to offer that help where I can.

Have you ever seen someone help others, even though their own suffering was great? How do you balance your own needs with your desire to help others?

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3 comments so far

  1. Michaela Stephens on

    Just yesterday I saw someone help someone even though their own need was great.

    I’m a bear den leader in cub scouts and yesterday I had my den meeting. My assistant came to the meeting even though she had just badly hurt her arm (and probably broke it) 10 minutes before coming to den meeting. She came with her arm wrapped up in a towel and an improvised cast, but she came. She was in pain but she came. And this is the woman that the week before had been flat on her back in bed with back pain. She’s already had a number of major joints replaced with metal ones, and she had every right to argue that she shouldn’t have come, but she did.

    Talk about sacrifice!

  2. Michaela Stephens on

    I just realized that I hadn’t answered your other question..

    “How do you balance your own needs with your desire to help others?”

    This is a very tricky question, and I really think it is something that has to be learned by experience, and we have to accept that we will make some mistakes along the way, but if we are humble and meek and seek the glory of God and to build up Zion, we will not fail to come right in the end.

    That said, I think that there are some principles in play that we have to remember.

    First, the principle that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. The Lord sees all that we do and he knows our needs. Somehow, in His own due time, He brings into our lives what we need (and even some things we’d like) when we try to help others.

    Second, the principle of experimenting upon the word. It is difficult to make big sacrifices unless we have previously worked to make the small sacrifices and then watched for the Lord’s hand in our lives and seen how we’ve been blessed.

    Third, the principle that the Lord loves the cheerful giver and that if we give a gift grudgingly, it is counted the same as if we had retained the gift, and it profiteth us nothing. (The state of our hearts is just as important as the acts that we do.)

    Fourth, the principle that we should do all things in wisdom and not run faster than we have strength or means. (Otherwise we exhaust ourselves and lose the motivation to continue.)

    • searchingthescriptures on

      Wow, what a dedicated den leader. I’d like to think I could be that dedicated, but right now I’m pretty sure I would have stayed at home. Hopefully I can get better.

      Also, what a great summary of principles! I especially like how you point out that we have to make small sacrifices before we can make big ones. I think sometimes we tell ourselves we would be enthusiastic to make big sacrifices if we were asked to, like crossing the plains or giving our life to defend the Savior, but then we complain and gripe about the smallest sacrifices that we are asked to make. That’s definitely something to think about the next time some unpleasant task comes along.


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