Babylon, Fantine, gift, giving, Jean Valjean, Jesus Christ, mammon, No poor, pure in heart, Zion
As one who speaks three languages, I find it interesting that the word gift is almost never used as a verb, though gift giving isn’t uncommon among friends. It is less common among acquaintances and even less so with strangers. I have heard it more commonly used in Spanish (regalar) and also in German (schenken) in daily use. But gift giving is detrimental to economics. How can you get people to pay you for what others give away for free? This also applies to religion and it’s why the Pharisees hated Jesus; He was bad for their business. Why pay ministers when the Son of God offers salvation for free? He gave the earth to Adam and Eve to cultivate freely without price.
Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
But fallen man exacts a price and he over exacts much. Modern economics deals with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth, or in other words, money. You can buy anything in this world with money. But you must first get gain. This cannot happen except by extortion. Man robs God, takes ownership of the earth, then with his ill gotten gain, he does not transfer it unless he profits thereby. God has forbidden this or as we read in Matthew 6:24, you cannot serve God and Mammon (Hebrew Mamonut=finance, Mamonai=financier, Mamoni=monetary, etc.). This is the way of the world, or in other words, Babylon. It is the continual exchange of substance. But God has something else in mind:
D&C 59:18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
19 Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.
20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.
It is by such extortion that makes thieves of beggars like Jean Valjean and harlots like Fantine who after selling her hair and her two front teeth in order to provide for her child, resorts in desperation to surrender her virtue by prostituting herself so that she might survive.
A young man who wanted to follow Jesus, having kept all the statutes from his youth up lacked just one thing to become the Lord’s disciple. He needed only sell all his possessions in order to give of all his worldly wealth thereof to the poor. But the young man coveted his own substance and abandoned the Lord because his heart was set upon his worldly treasures. Such can never hope to become pure in heart for it is the pure in heart that constitute Zion. The pure in heart are pure, that is, unmixed, unadulterated, unalloyed by any other substance or material.
D&C 101:18 They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion.
And who are the pure in heart that constitute Zion?
Moses 7:18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.
“There was no poor among them.”
Isaiah 14:32 What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.
And why does nobody suffer poverty in Zion? Because they are one. One heart and one mind. They are righteous, or in other words just. There is no injustice and there is no injustice because there is no excess and no extortion. Like the saints in the first few chapters of Acts, they have all things “common” among them. All of it is God’s who multiplies and gives freely.
Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common…
Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
They embodied the two great commandments for they loved God and also one another as themselves. The same discipleship was found in the Book of Mormon after Jesus Christ’s visitation:
4 Nephi 1:3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
Gift giving is kind. It is brotherly and selfless. It is faithful. Gift giving is Godly. Of such is the true disciple of Jesus Christ.