Monday, June 20, 2011

If You Had Been Asked to Do Some Great Thing

Admit it.  When you run into some characters in scripture, who don’t act the way you know they should, you think that you would have done so much better had you been there.

Take the story of Naaman, the captain of the host of the king of Syria who was also a leper.  When a maid who waited on his wife said there was a prophet in Israel who could cure him, he gathered up considerable wealth to pay for a healing miracle, and headed for Israel, eventually ending up before the door of the prophet, Elisha.

There he cut a powerful presence, with all his authority, in his snappy chariot, but Elisha didn’t come out to see Naaman himself.  Instead, he sent a messenger with a sort of homely set of instructions.  If Naaman would go wash himself seven times in the River Jordan, his flesh would become clean.

You can almost hear Naaman’s whole soul reeling at the little chore.  This man of authority, who had been used to people jumping at his word, who had probably never been met only by somebody’s lackey, had had a different vision of how things would come down. 

Naaman said, “I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper” (2 Kings 2:11).

After all, the rivers of Damascus were mightier than this puny, uninspiring Jordan.  Not only did he not wash, he “went away in a rage” (2 Kings 5:12).

It took a lowly servant to tell him the truth. “If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?  How much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2 Kings 5:13).

You read this story and you may find yourself responding in a teenager’s words.  “Well, duh, Naaman.”  If you get a message from the Lord to do anything, however small for such enormous blessings, of course you’d do it.  So what if the nature of the task is not your favorite, or somehow beneath you, or doesn’t quite fit your vision of things, can’t you bend a little to simply do what you are asked?

Still right in the midst of feeling superior to Naaman, I thought of a sign I saw in a gift shop in Idaho that said, “If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to serve as a terrible warning.”

Maybe we have more of Naaman in us than we’d like to admit.  It seems that if the Lord asked us to do some big thing, we could do it.  Ask me to walk to Missouri, I’ll start packing my bags and head out of my driveway.  Ask me to be brave in times of crisis, and I might be able to pull it off.

What is really hard is doing all the every day, undramatic, steady things that are required to be a true disciple of Christ.  As one leader said, “With the Lord’s help, we could find many people who would be qualified to serve as bishop of the ward.  It’s good home teachers that are hard to find.”

When I asked my Sunday School class what Naaman’s problem was, they all said immediately that it was his pride.  Certainly the big calling in the Church, the measurable achievement at work, the child we raise who everyone can point to as a prize-winner are impressive.  Other people know that we must have it all together by such outward standards.

More to the point, however, is that if our lives yield certain opportunities and possibilities, we are more impressed with ourselves.  How much more meaningful and exciting it is when we arise each morning to work on a big project, a compelling creation, something that we can see and mark as a product of excellence than to get up to a set of everyday, silent and unsung chores.

Among those everyday chores, are many things that the Lord asks of us to live as covenant people.  So many, many things.  Read your scriptures.  Say your prayers.  Write in your journal. Go to the temple.  Master the new Familysearch. Write a thank you note.  Call your neighbor.  Visit or home teach people who don’t care if you come.

Maureen Proctor wrote this article for Meridian Magazine. 

Let me now add my two cents ... haven't the prophets told you to get your food storage and to prepare for the return of your Lord and King? Have you scoffed and said, He isn't coming yet? We are planning a vacation and just don't have the money? My parents stored food, and nothing happened. Or whatever other excuse of the day you like to use. How great of a thing are you expecting to be asked to do? If you cannot keep such a simple commandment how can you be expected to do a great thing when called upon? How can you expect God to ask you to do a wonderous thing when you won't even try to do a simple thing?

Remember the Lamb's blood on the door? Did you realize the blood was NOT on the outside of the door, but on the INSIDE where your neighbors couldn't see if you had bothered to do as asked? So, when the Destroying Angel came and passed over those who had kept such a simple command, but destroyed the babes of those who had not, then everyone knew who had not kept the simple command. Just the same, where do you keep your preparedness items, on the front porch for all the neighbors to see, or inside where you alone can see that you have kept the commandment? 

Did you know we have Spiritual Temples and Temporal Temples? Our Spiritual Temples are: The Salt Lake Temple, The Redlands Temple, The Provo Temple, The Los Angeles Temple, and all the other Temples around the world where we take out our own endowments, and also do the work for those who have passed over. We also have Temporal Temples dotting the earth. Those are the Food Storage Centers, like the one in Springville, Utah. They have been designated by the Lord as Temporal Temples. They preform a Holy service also. When you go to one you are entering a Holy Temple. Do you know you are supposed to also have a Temporal Temple in your own home? I hope that each of you have been working to make your own Temporal Temple a place that you would not be ashamed to have Christ and the Angels visit.

Do you know where the holiest place in your home is? It is your temporal temple; it is your Food Storage Room. It is the most sacred room in your home. It is truly, the Holiest of Holies in your home. Does anyone except family really enter this room? Does anyone but family really know what is in your Temporal Temple? No, but Christ and the Angels do.

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