Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, May 4

Beggars, Begging, Stewardship, Being Cheated, God, Us

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 3:24 pm
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We discussed beggars in class today, from Mosiah 4.

I had a few interesting insights (at least to myself). Not all new, but more “together” this time.

We often worry about whether the person begging is in real need or is cheating us, just trying to take our money for nothing. Hey, we earned it, it’s ours, we don’t want to just give it away for nothing. In business and energy work it’s the concept of “fair exchange”. So we are often hesitant. We also know that we can’t just give everything to everyone. We also know it’s often not good to give plain money to others, but maybe food, clothes, a ride, etc. instead; or in exchange for work, or even a chance to listen to their experiences or such.

In this desire to be good stewards, however, I imagine we often cut off those who really do need our things, especially the material things, because of a fear of being cheated. Pres. Joseph F. Smith, I believe, said something like it was better to be cheated 9 times by false beggars to make sure the 1 true beggar that needed got it, than to not be cheated by the 9 false beggars and perhaps miss the 1 true beggar who needed it.

Our money, our food, our cothing, our _, whatever–it’s not ours. It’s all God’s. We really are only stewards of it all. Yes, maybe we worked hard for it–using God-given blessings, such as a body, air, food, etc.; and we were blessed and received. We of course want to be good stewards and manage them accordingly. But we have a special commandment in this case. We must use these things we are stewards over, things we have been blessed with, according to the way that God tells us to use them; and through King Benjamin we have explicit instructions in this case–that seem to go against other parts of being good stewards–to give to beggars.

If we use these things as directed, to give to the beggar, we are promised blessings–that our pleas to God won’t go unheard and unheeded, either. So, either we learn to live in abundance from God through us to others (and ourselved being ok in the middle), or we similarly learn to live in scarcity, because we don’t have faith that if we give (and even if we are cheated), God can and will still provide for us. That is the reason for our substances will perish with us. We won’t give to others, and therefore God won’t give to us.

Does that mean we need to send our bank account number to Africa when we get the next email from a good general who wants to give us millions of dollars to help him save his country’s money? (Cough, cough.) No. We need to be intelligent; we need to be wise; we need to be careful; we need to be resourceful; but when it comes to a person in front of us who seems to be in need, who’s asking for daily bread or such, it might be hard to judge sometimes, and it might be better to judge mercifully than not. Remember that while it might be a cheater, it might also be an angel (yes, literally). Or, if you believe in the possibility of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”, the Savior himself.

If a “beggar” (or anyone, for that matter) cheats us, will it bless their lives, in the long run? It won’t.

If we are cheated by a beggar (or anyone, for that matter)–especially because we want and try to do good, love others, and obey the commandment to give to the beggar–will we be cursed for it, even temporally? We can’t and won’t be, unless we cut ourselves off from those blessings. Or if we have faith, will God–who gives freely to his children that ask–make up for it, and maybe even more? I believe so.

Now, a little more about “cheating beggars”… Have you ever cheated God? Have you ever disobeyed any commandments, yet expected the blessings that came from obeying them? Did you even ever get angry when you didn’t receive those blessings? Have you ever prayed for mercy, expecting to receive it, yet treated others unmercifully? Have you tried to get something for nothing from God, with the intent to use it in a less-than-Godly way? And if we on top of doing all these things also withold His things from others against his commandment, aren’t we also hypocrites?

We are beggars with God; unprofitable servants, and some of us not even servants, just unprofitable enemies to God. We are given stewardship, and we must also realize that there is a difference between being a wise steward and a greedy steward. Let’s be wise stewards.


  1. This is exactly right. We can’t give to everyone with their hand out, but if we don’t give at all for fear of being taken advantage or that the person doesn’t deserve it, then we are being ungenerous and unkind–and not Christlike. I appreciate your thoughts.

    Comment by Carole Thayne Warburton — 2009, May 22 @ 5:30 pm

  2. I appreciate your insightful article. My husband and I have always used the counsel of the Lord in all our dealings with church members, friends, neighbors, family or strangers, “Give to them that ask”, and “Cast your bread upon the waters, and after many days it will return”. These are counsels of the Lord we have practiced throughout our 52 years of marriage. We have given thousands away over the course of our lives, to those who ask, and some who don’t, not necessarily expecting to receive anything in return. Many times we have been cheated or lied to, (that is always the chance), knowing in our hearts, we have kept the commandment giving love and compassion. We know the debter who fails to repay, often suffers guilt and shame. We count our blessings in good health, and having sufficient for our needs. We keep this commandment of the Lord, which fills our hearts with untold joy, receiving his multitude of blessings.

    Comment by Betty — 2009, May 22 @ 6:21 pm

  3. This was a very good point and touched my spirit. I resolve to be more generous in the future.

    Comment by Grandma Becki — 2009, May 22 @ 7:01 pm

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