#LighttheWorld Day 1: Freely Ye Have Received, Freely Give

Light the world - Day 1 - Give Freely
Matthew 10:8 - Because we have been given much, we too must give. But is the giving limited to temporal items?

Editor’s note: If you would like to follow along with the 25 days of Light the World, download a calendar here.

Welcome to our Light the World blogs! Every day from now until Christmas, writers from across the This Week in Mormons community will be sharing their thoughts on the scripture and message for each day. I have the wonderful task of being the first, so hopefully I set a decent tone!

Let’s read the today’s verse, from Matthew 10:8:

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Now, what I love about #LighttheWorld is the emphasis on service. And at first glance, the charge to freely give is pretty transparent. Give! Check out the video.

(If you’ll permit a quick digression, these vending machines are awesome. Whoever came up with this idea deserves a raise, or at the very least an EGOT.)

How can I freely give? I love the juxtaposition of the regular vending machine against the service machine. It makes me think of all the times I’ve been out shopping and asked if I wanted to pitch in a dollar for a certain charity. Yet how often have I said something like, “Nah, that’s OK.”? Why am I saying that?! When my mind drifts to thoughts on how I have a family to take care of, how I have only so much income, how I don’t want to be wasteful, I should take a step back and remember the other side: I have shelter and have never not had shelter. I have food (and them some) and have never not had food. I have more than everything I need. So can I spare a buck? You bet. Fast offerings are great, but we can do more.

There’s another side of this scripture that’s worth exploring. On its own, Matthew 10:8 appears to be solely about giving. But put in the wider context of the exchange the Lord has with the Twelve, in which He empowers them to preach, minister, and heal the sick, we come to understand the additional meaning being to give freely. Verses 1, 5-10:

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease…..

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said,

“We follow the pattern of Paul and make the gospel of Christ available without charge, lest we abuse or misuse the power the Lord has given us. Freely we have received and freely we give, for salvation is free. All who thirst are invited to come and drink of the waters of life, to buy corn and wine without money and without price.”

Our charge is to give freely of our faith, to be indiscriminate in how we share the gospel, and to be open about what we believe. I think that is a noble challenge for us this holiday season, and just as I wish to avoid my historical punkery in balking at giving away a dollar, I hope to avoid being too closed with my testimony.

During the Christmas season it can be very easy to feel like a have-not, as if our success is somehow measured by that which we are able to obtain. But I’m reminded of the words of George Albert Smith, who said, “There is only one aristocracy that God recognizes, and that is the aristocracy of righteousness.” And so our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ see us for who we are, not what we are, and I picture them hoping desperately that we will look out for one another.

It is incumbent upon us to give freely not just of our means, but also of our faith. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this forms the basis for our very first day of Light the World, as caring for people temporally and spiritually is exactly what Christ would have us do. Here’s to the season.

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