Tidings from the West
We are admonished from the very beginning to contribute to the relief of worthy distressed Masons, their widows and orphans and friends around us, those in need "so far as their necessities may require and our ability permit, without material injury to ourselves and those dependent upon us". What is difficult to determine, and it is left to the individual to decide, is where the line is drawn.
There is always need, especially in today's economy, of helping those around us. It takes a special wisdom and faith and a discernment to decide how much to give the individual or to direct him or her to an answer that will help them in the long run so that this necessity doesn't repeat itself. Also, if we are in need, many times pride comes into the picture and the needy individual does not ask for help when they need it. One would hope that in our lodge if anyone needs aid they will not be afraid to ask. Part of brotherhood is being sensitive to each others needs and looking outside ourselves and our busy schedules to make time and give when we can to their relief. Again, a special discernment is needed to decide whether we give that money or loan it to him or her and how often. I have had situations come into my life recently where I have had to ask for help in the repair of my truck. People have come forward, not only from the lodge but from my church and even a total stranger to fix it.
The average person basically wants to help those around him. Our society has turned to social services and other groups to ai d and the service of the individual has faded into the background. Let our lodge bring back the service of the individual brother. Let us open ourselves to the needs of those within our circle and not be afraid to ask if we need help and the Great Architect of the Universe will reward us openly for our private generosity.