Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Adventures in Keeping the Commandments

When discussing the commandments with nominal followers of Jesus, I ask about four in particular.
  1. Give to everyone that asks you. (Luke 6:30)
  2. Lend to everyone who asks (3 Nephi 12:42) without hoping to get paid back. (Luke 6:35)
  3. Forgive all debts. (3 Nephi 13:11)
  4. Have neither retirement plans, nor savings, nor more stuff than is sufficient for your immediate needs, and give the rest away to the poor. (3 Nephi 13:19-21, Luke 12:15-34)
These things are not hard to understand.  However, few do them, even though they understand what is being asked by God.  And the reason almost nobody does them is because we're scared.  Scared that if we do these we won't have enough for ourselves.  Scared that we'll be taken advantage of.  Scared that we will be lied to.  Scared that if we do these things we will become homeless bums.  Scared that there is not really a God and we will therefore be forfeiting our present comfort for nothing.

These are all valid objections, and they amount to the same thing: fear.  Fear is what keeps us from serving God.  And one cannot argue others into serving God, for God doesn't receive a begrudged gift.

But suppose you freely do these things, believing God has asked them of you.  What can you expect to happen?

Maybe something like this:

You will fear.  You will tremble.  You will rage.  You will be taken advantage of.  You will be lied to.  Someone will get your phone number and start making galling requests of you without regard to your well-being.  You will find out what is really in your heart.  You will discover what it is that you are.  You will begin to understand how people treat God.  You will discover the nature of God, and what kind of being he is.

You'll learn why it's really good advice to take no thought for the morrow.

You will also run into those who know a little too much, who move a little too quickly, who are a little too focused for their station in society.  You will hear the voices of invisible beings, and hear some of them knocking at the veil on your behalf.  You will learn the meaning of the ordinances.  You will begin to lose your fear.  You will gain wisdom and understanding.

And if you teach the commandments, false disciples and unbelievers will persecute you and seek to take your life.

That's an example of what the grand adventure of the gospel could be.

What do you have going on that's better than that?  You're going to lose everything you seem to have in this world anyways, including your substance, your familial relationships, and even your life.  Do you really want to spend your soul on that vacation you've been planning, or on that degree you fancy for the increased earning potential, or do you want to do something instead that matters?

What is it you really want?