Keeping with my weekly series of my favorite scriptures I turn to D&C 58:26-29. We’re all familiar with it. The “anxiously engaged in a good cause” and “not meet that I should command in all things.” Let me give the common traditional reading of the scripture (which is why I love it) and then bring up its abuse.
The traditional sense of the scripture is that we shouldn’t be sitting around waiting to be told what to do. We ought take some initiative. Ward not quite what you’d like? Go out and see what you can do to improve it. Start inviting couples out for dinner that you don’t know. Start up some quasi-ward activities by putting fliers around. Have a community picnic.
Haven’t been told what to do to be charitable? Go check your local United Way. Visit your county government offices and see what service organizations are around. Call up your local habitat for humanity. Look around your neighborhood for things that would improve it. Surprise your neighbor by shoveling their sidewalk or (now) mowing their lawn.
The point is that we sometimes wait for the church to tell us how to be charitable. However I think the point of the law of consecration is that all our activities are the Lord’s, but he expects us to give them of our will to him. And part of that “our will” is actually looking around and seeing what needs done. We’re all servants of the Lord and a servant who has to constantly be micromanaged isn’t much of a servant and probably deserves to be fired.
Now for the abuse.
Some people take this scripture to mean that we do it on our own. However this leaves out the verse prior to the ones everyone quotes. The context, as you recall, is deciding where to gather. The prior verse talks about people coming to Jackson country with their families “as they shall counsel between themselves and me [God].” The point is that we always counsel with God. He may not give a lot of explicit direction, but especially with important decisions we ought be passing it by him. Some people read verses 26-27 and figure we’re on our own figuring things out. However we’re never on our own and we should never figure things out alone.
The point is that we shouldn’t be passive, only doing what we’re explicitly told (either by God or by the church). However neither should be we unilateral. The Church is a house of order, after all. But, as members of the body of Christ we all have our capabilities and talents. We ought be utilizing those to build up the Kingdom of God. It’s very easy and very tempting to sit back and criticize how the organization isn’t working. However it is much more productive to go out and help make it work. And a lot of that can be done on an individual basis.