The 13th Article of Faith continues with, “We believe in being . . . benevolent . . . .”
Benevolent can be defined as being charitable, helping others, expressing kindly feelings or goodwill, and something that’s intended for benefits instead of profit.
When we moved my daughter up to Provo, we were unloading boxes from our big van. I took in some boxes to her apartment and when I returned to the van, I saw several young men and women all helping us unload things. I remarked that all the years doing service projects at church had made these young people ready and willing to pitch in.
Recently, our high school added a service requirement for graduation. All students are now required to render at least 20 hours of service in the community in order to graduate. To me, this addition to graduation requirements signals a concern that our youth are not involved in enough charitable service. In speaking with my daughter’s adviser, though, the adviser commented that she wasn’t at all worried about my daughter meeting the requirement because she was aware of all of the service that we do in the Church. Isn’t that a great way for the Church to be recognized?
Benevolent isn’t just a word to us in the LDS Church. We practice being benevolent by participating in service on a regular basis. In my community, we clean the highway twice a year. It’s amazing what people throw out their windows as they drive down the road. In Mutual, we regularly serve others by cleaning the cemetery, building ramps, painting, cleaning, and moving others. My husband and my son spent 10 hours one Saturday, moving two different families.
This week for our Mutual activity, we will be going to different houses in the area and doing a Service Scavenger Hunt. The girls will clean or do other service for a community member in exchange for points. At the end of the activity, we will add up the points and see who did the most service. It’s kind of a fun twist on service.
The Church has been involved in service projects for areas of the world affected by storms, hurricanes, fires, drought, and poverty. We regularly have humanitarian projects where we assemble school kits, newborn kits, and kits for homeless shelters. Local wards assemble the kits, send them to Church Headquarters and then the Church delivers them throughout the world. The Church is as visible as the Red Cross during times of disaster.
Once each month, usually the first Sunday of the month, we fast for two meals. We are encouraged to donate what we would’ve spent on those meals, or more if our circumstances allow it, to a Church fund called Fast Offering. These funds are then administered to people in our local communities who are in need. As members, we do not know who benefits from our donations, we only know that our donations go to help people within our own communities.
The Lord has blessed us with everything we have. None of it belongs to us. Learning to donate our time, talents, and finances to help others is a small way to show our gratitude to the Lord for His many blessings.