One of our beloved hymns teaches: “Because I have been given much I too must give.” This teaching is echoed in both the verse and quote below. How can you, in your current circumstances, “open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to the needy?”
11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
I will never forget my first visit to West Africa in 1986. The Saints came to our meetings in great numbers. Though they had little in terms of material possessions, most came dressed in spotless white clothing.
I asked the stake president how he cared for members who had so little. He replied that their bishops knew their people well. If members could afford two meals a day, no help was needed. But if they could afford only one meal or less—even with family help—bishops provided food, financed from fast offerings. Then he added this remarkable fact: their fast-offering contributions usually exceeded their expenses. Surplus fast offerings were then sent to people elsewhere whose needs exceeded theirs. Those stalwart African Saints taught me a great lesson about the power of the law and the spirit of the fast.
As members of the Church, we feel a kinship to those who suffer in any way. As sons and daughters of God, we are all brothers and sisters. We heed an Old Testament admonition: “Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy.”
President Russell M. Nelson