3 The Church in its Temporal Aspect Part F

God And Surplus.  
Proverbs 31:24-25

The oneness of covenant and the truth of God's ways become the foundations on which Solomon's virtuous woman grows. With patience, diligence, and a steadfast faith in all that was true and honorable, she created a home for her family that was a sanctuary of hope and wisdom, but her growth did not end there.  

Deuteronomy 28:11-12 
28:11 And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
28:12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand; and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

Proverbs 31:24-25
31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
31:25 Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

Solomon's virtuous woman will discover the promise of God to those who apply a diligent effort to His ways. They will discover surplus, which is all that they want, more than they need, and more than they can use. Surplus is a blessing of God and like every blessing we receive from God; using it to the fullness of its design brings growth. Surplus and its application to a virtuous life, brings with it the blessing/burden of earthly success, which in and of itself is a trial of priorities. Solomon's virtuous woman knew that the stability and strength of her family were the priority to which her surplus would be applied. Do we as a people grasp the fullness of our covenant purpose? Are we far-sighted enough to truly prioritize with our ultimate goal in mind? Many tend to forget that the church/woman we seek is not our goal, neither is Zion. The fulfillment of God's purpose is our goal. We must be one in our understanding that ultimately, we will seek to have God and the ways of God alive in the hearts of all people everywhere that they too might have the choice to enjoy eternity with God. The strength of our unity in this understanding determines whether our temporal blessing of surplus will become our defining strength or our greatest weakness. 

Surplus is a blessing of from God that enables our compassion to become works of charity both within the Kingdom and in the world around the Kingdom. When we combine those works of charity with the unity of oneness, which is the hallmark of God's Kingdom, we gain a fuller understanding of the possibility of and the eventuality of a system of communal ownership known as all things common.

Acts 2:44-46
2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Yes, I know that this concept reeks of the failed communes of the late 60s and early 70s. Many people many times have attempted to pool the resources of a community and dole out to each an equal portion. Communism within its most lofty ideals purports just such a system, but it will always fail. In communism the major concern of each individual is the needs of the state and the forced equality of all people. In God the individual's priority is the needs of their neighbor and what we can do to support the unity of life we call oneness. It's not that we need to be one with them or even that they need to be one with us. We seek to live in oneness together.

As we learn to recognize temporal surplus we find that temporal success is a direct challenge to the unity of oneness. In the world all that we gain and achieve must be protected from others who would steal it. In God's Kingdom compassion and charity are the rule of the day. In short, we receive from God that we might share with others.

2 Corinthians 8:13-15 
8:13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened;
8:14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want; that there may be equality;
8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. 

Exodus 16:18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.

An omer is a Hebrew dry measurement for grains that equals 2.3 L or 0.61 Gal US. Apparently, God was offering them an amount of manna needed per person per day that there would be no waste. The plan of God is for us to recognize our needs and share our excess with those in need, but in the pride of our hearts temporal success and the surplus it brings can cause a man to fall away from God. It can cause a people to lose their way on the path to God.

Alma 2:8-10 
2:8 And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the Judges, that the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine silks, and their fine twined linen,
2:9 And because of their many flocks and herds, and their gold, and their silver, and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry;
2:10 And in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel.

It can even cause the much-vaunted church/woman we seek, to place self-pride ahead of the needs of the Kingdom.

Jacob 2:13-16 
2:13 For behold, as I inquired of the Lord, thus came the word unto me, saying, Jacob, get thou up into the temple on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee, unto this people.
2:14 And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you, and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.
2:15 And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches;
2:16 And because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren, ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks, and high heads, because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren, because ye suppose that ye are better than they.

The pastor Jacob reached out to a people, but his message was to each individual. As we grow in the understanding of surplus, we come to find that our ability to use it for God's purpose is a very personal and individual challenge. Only in our fellowship with God through His Spirit can we face this challenge and defeat it. Solomon's virtuous woman exemplifies this very effort. Faced with the challenge of surplus she relied on the purpose created by her covenant of marriage to direct her use of this blessing. In her decision, she was able to avoid the temptation of self-pride and replace it with the joy of fulfilling covenant.   

Proverbs 31:24-25
31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
31:25 Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

Open your eyes to the fullness of the instruction we are given by Solomon's virtuous woman. Surplus, the ability to create surplus, and the decision of how to use this surplus are all very personal things. If the decisions we make are to cause joy in our life, they must come from within our heart. Nothing mandated by another, nor any tradition or law observed will create joy within our heart. At best we will feel relived from the burden those decisions bring. At worst we will feel pride for having done the right thing. True joy comes from making the right decision for the right reason, and only God through His Spirit can guide us to the outcomes we seek. We must each learn to go to the Lord in all things and listen closely for that still small voice that is His reply.

DC 131:1c In the still small voice which giveth light and understanding to the intelligence of man, exalting the soul and sanctifying the spirit, there came unto me the directing voice of Him whose work we are engaged in.

By diligently applying God's insights to the manufacture of fabric, Solomon's virtuous woman created more girdles than her family needs and more than they could ever use. Recognizing the sinful futility of waste, she seeks to trade her goods and bring profit to the family. The time constraints caused by her covenant responsibilities to home, husband, and family restricts her ability to seek maximum profits by utilizing a retail form of trade. Instead, she sells to those who can quickly recognize the quality of the product she offers. She wholesales the product to merchants. By foregoing the required notoriety of retail trade, she quietly and humbly transforms the potential misuse of surplus into a way that avoids waste and fulfills the needs of her family. 

The decisions she made in dealing with this surplus were filled with evidence of God in her life. The strength and honor that clothe her are founded on her faith in not only what is right today but for what is right for the times to come. God's wisdom within allows her to discern that the kindness God has shown her today is but a type and shadow of His grace yet to come. She understands that surplus is ultimately a blessing from God that must be maintained and cared for with diligence to the His ways. She chose to allow it to teach her family how to cherish and maintain the surplus all will receive in God's greatest blessing, a place within His family and citizenship within His Kingdom.  

Ephesians 2:2-9 
2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience;
2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;
2:7 That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus.
2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; but it is the gift of God;
2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Proverbs 31:24-25
31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
31:25 Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

God through Solomon has one more lesson for us in our target passage. Solomon's virtuous woman produced a temporal surplus that is a type and shadow of the spiritual surplus our church/woman will offer to God. Take note that it was linen girdles that she sold to the merchants, and seek out the fullness of truth contained in what she made of from what she made it.

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Revelation 19:7-8 
19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

The linen girdles produced by the virtuous woman are a type and shadow of both truth and righteousness. Truth that creates and supports righteousness is the surplus held commonly by those that gather to become Christ's Church, and through the leadings of the Spirit their surplus will become a mighty flood that will fill the earth.

Genesis 7:70 And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare; an holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion; a New Jerusalem.
The idea of surplus is freely taught in the churches of the world as a promise from God of earthly riches, but we now know that this is not the fullness of God's truth. What then is the fullness of surplus? Recognizing surplus as a very personal and individual blessing is an important part of our growth in God. Utilizing this very personal blessing is a challenge that can cause each individual household to grasp fully the nature of God's design for His Church, and the unity of oneness that is the Kingdom.