2 And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel–
3 Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart.
On my mission I saw this pattern in practice. It was often those who were poor as to things of the world who also had a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Those who were humbled in circumstance were often humble and willing to listen and learn.
There’s often criticism that missionaries pray on the poor, but the reality is that the gospel is for all mankind. Rich or poor, all need to know Jesus Christ and learn to apply his atonement. And so missionaries will teach those who show a desire and are willing to act.
For those in need, the Church is often a balm in Gilead. It allows some to feel fellowship and Christlike love for first time. And it helps them to have an eternal perspective and to know that they are beloved of God.
I’ve written about one of the most striking experiences on my mission elsewhere, but I want to tell a story again. On my mission at one time we had two investigators who were progressing and had a desire to be baptized. One was an older middle class man who had a wife and children. The other was an older woman who was widowed and extremely poor. She lived in a tiny apartment in one of the worst neighborhoods in town.
We were nervous about teaching her the law of tithing. But to our surprise, she embraced it fully. In her meager circumstances she was willing to believe in the promise of divine blessings and to have faith. Our other investigator on the other hand could never accept tithing. Even though it would have been so much easier relatively for him to pay, he saw it as an affront to his livelihood and was unwilling to accept God’s will. He felt prideful because of his success and so was not willing to hearken to God.
It is often those who have been humbled who will humble themselves and follow Jesus Christ.