Wednesday, April 30, 2008

End of April...

Two posts in one week is a lot, I know. But I recommitted myself to blogging at least twice a month, and so if you procrastinate the first post till the last week of the month, this is what you end up with.

And seeing as I am currently suffering the consequences of procrastination, I thought I would just share a couple of quotes on the subject and resolve to not do it again.

One of the most serious human defects in all ages is procrastination, an unwillingness to accept personal responsibilities now.
Spencer W. Kimball

Two centuries ago Edward Young said that procrastination is the thief of time. Actually, procrastination is much more. It is the thief of our self-respect.
Thomas S. Monson

Procrastination, as it may be applied to gospel principles, is the thief of eternal life—which is life in the presence of the Father and the Son.
Joseph Fielding Smith

In reading those in my current state I have come to realize that what Nephi said is true: the truth cutteth the wicked to the very center. Ouch.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Learning from the little ones...

Those of you who know me know that I get to teach Sunday School about once every three Sundays. Today was one of those Sundays. The subject matter for the lesson was from Mosiah 1-3, which are some of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. Typically when I prepare a lesson, I work from the end backwards. I think of the commitment that I want to leave with the class, and then prepare the bulk of my lesson with that commitment in mind. By doing so I am able to have more direction in the body of the lesson.

The commitment I felt would be applicable comes from one of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:19.

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

I thought I would invite the class to try to learn more from the little children that they associate with. I then went about preparing my lesson, and was finished this morning around with a few hours to spare before Church started. With the extra time I had, I decided that I would re-read a talk that had a profound impact on my mission. I pulled out Qualifications for the Work, by Gene R. Cook. In the talk Gene R. Cook shares the following story:

I remember hearing of a case in the pioneer days somewhere in southern Utah where there had been a long drought and many of the crops were about to die. The bishop had called the ward together and asked them to fast and pray. The saints had done so. On a particular Sunday, the bishop asked them to come together in the afternoon to offer a final prayer that the rain might come.

As one family prepared to leave home, a little five year old girl said, “Wait a minute, Dad, I forgot something.” She ran into the house and came out with a bag.

The Saints gathered together in the church courtyard and offered prayer with all of the saints exercising their faith. Before the final “amen” raindrops began to fall, and then it came down in bucketsful. Everyone ran for the chapel. Interestingly enough, there were two people left in the courtyard—the bishop and the five year old girl. She opened up her bad and said, “Bishop would you like to share my umbrella?”

Would you think about that for just a moment? A five year old girl heard that they were going to pray to the Lord with all their hearts that rain would come. As far as the history shows, she was the only one—the only one—with an umbrella. That little girl had total faith that it would rain.

Turns out, that story fit in perfect with my commitment and so I shared it prior to inviting the class to focus on learning from little children how to develop the qualities described in Mosiah 3:19. I am thoroughly excited to learn from and try to emulate those pure, innocent qualities of children. So pure and innocent that Christ would exhort us to become like them. If any of you have little stories of things you have learned from the little ones in your lives, please post them. I figure I might not run into too many kids living in a singles ward at a university, so maybe I could learn vicariously through you.