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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

07. The Three Degrees of Charity

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the seventh examining the phrase "cometh unto me".

"You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips."
-Oliver Goldsmith, writer / physician (1730-1774)

Kara Laszczyk knew discipleship was (and is) a desire to emulate and become more like Jesus Christ.  It's a willingness to sacrifice and serve in sharing His gospel.

But Kara felt somewhat hampered by her introverted personality.

"Discipleship is not passive," she said.  "I want to be more proactive about giving service instead of just waiting until a sign-up sheet is passed around,” she said. “I want to be a better visiting teacher. I want to look for some way that I can serve outside of the Church in my community. I want my first thought to be ‘What can I do for them?’ or ‘What do they need?’ not ‘Do I have time?’ or ‘How will this affect me?’"

"We need our Savior," Kara said, "but our Savior also needs us. He needs us to help and lift each other." (Source: "Discipleship at All Times, in All Things, in All Places", Ensign, February 2013)

In a previous post, I described the Three Degrees of Prayer.

I also believe that there are Three Degrees of Charity:
  • A lower degree of charity involves reactive involvement.  For example, you wait until you are informed that someone needs help.  You are not actively seeking opportunities to render charity.
  • An even better degree of charity involves beseeching the heavens for another's peace and healing.  Elder Bednar put it best when he said:
"Petitioning Heavenly Father for the blessings we desire in our personal lives is good and proper. However, praying earnestly for others, both those whom we love and those who despitefully use us, is also an important element of meaningful prayer. Just as expressing gratitude more often in our prayers enlarges the conduit for revelation, so praying for others with all of the energy of our souls increases our capacity to hear and to heed the voice of the Lord." ("Pray Always", October 2008 General Conference)
Look at that last part -- "praying for others with all of the energy of our souls increases our capacity to hear and to heed the voice of the Lord."  This is significant in light of D&C 93:1's next two steps ("calleth on my name" and "obeyeth my voice").

In my next post, I'll discuss what I believe is the highest, celestial form of charity that utilizes the very powers of heaven to enhance the lives of others.


  1. Thank you for this post, just what I needed. I feel that I am in this 2nd degree. I will also do my own seeking to find out what the highest form of charity is. I love the law of witnesses. Many of the truths that you put in your posts are ones that I am being taught and you serve as a 2nd or sometimes a 3rd witness. Thank you for listening to the Spirit of the Lord and being obedient to those promptings.

  2. Another great post! It reminds me of how in many of his books Avraham Gileadi teaches us how Isaiah speaks of Jacob's ladder where those on a higher "rung" of the ladder reach down to help those below (Service) and in this way we then in turn are lifted up to another "rung" of the ladder. It goes along with what the Savior taught that if we lose ourselves in the service of others, that is when we find ourselves and ascend closer to our Father in Heaven and become more like Him. Angels are all around us waiting for us to ask for help, I am so grateful for their service to me... we can become angels for others if we seek to find ways to bless their lives. Thanks for sharing, my friend.