There’s been a lot of stories about Church activity in Houston and other places where members have stepped up to help people in the hurricane. You’ve probably seen a lot of stories. I’ve even linked to a lot myself. I’ll admit I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with these stories though. There’s something a bit unseemly about stories that are us telling ourselves how great a job we’re doing. It’s that sense that if you’re doing charity for praise, you’re doing it wrong. “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” (Matt 6:3)
Further such stories seem to always emphasize what we’re doing right but neglect what we’re doing wrong or whether we’re doing enough.
Despite feeling queasy about this I’ve come around to thinking there’s something valuable in these stories. They convey what it means to be a Mormon. It’s really not about preaching how great we are as if we had our own Rameumpton. Rather it’s about conveying a set of values of what we should be doing in our own lives. The rising generation hears these stories of being prepared for disaster, of acting immediately, of not waiting to be told what to do but to find what to do. To be Mormon is to engage in this kind of service to others and so we mold ourselves to these expectations.
While I don’t want to neglect Matt 6:3, an other scripture comes to mind.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16)
We should look at these stories and then see our own communities and ask, what could we be doing here? Because acting is fundamentally what it means to be Mormon.