A Thing of Naught

A few thoughts from my scripture reading this morning- 1 Nephi chapter 19.

Nephi is commanded to make plates of ore. He first makes a more detailed record of his time in the wilderness on those plates. Later he is commanded to make the gold plates, which contain things that are more sacred.

He sure did a lot of writing. How grateful I am that he followed the commandment of the Lord to make these other plates. He could have said, “I’ve already made plates!” But no, he knew that the Lord has a purpose in all things, so why not this?

Nephi quotes scripture about Christ and his coming, his life and his death. He writes of those of old who may have erred in their writing, but that doesn’t take away from the truth of their words.

Here’s the part that really struck me, verse 9:

And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.

This is such a beautiful scripture to me. This perfect man was seen as a thing of naught.

Naught means nothing,

nothing at all,

no point,

no purpose,

no effect.

It is difficult to even type those words in relation to my Savior. No purpose? No effect?

jesus-praying-in-gethsemane-39591-printOur very existence and our eternal welfare depended on Him. And because of him, we are saved both spiritually and temporally.

He is THE purpose.

THE point.

Everything.

pictures-of-jesus-crown-thorns-1127729-printAnd here’s the thing. He knew this. He knew his purpose. So when the people saw him as a thing of naught- what must that have felt like? He was there for them too. But he didn’t do any grandstanding or set himself above them. He let them scourge him, and smite him, and spit on him. And crucify him. And he suffereth it because of his loving kindness…

Do we esteem him as a thing of naught?

What do we do with his words? Do we study and seek to understand? Or do we set them off to the side until we have the time to read them.

What do we do with the temple? His house? Do we try to go as often as possible, to be in his presence? Or do we let one month, two months- or a year go by because we don’t have two house to spare? Do we see a purpose in attending?

For the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet. Yea, even the very God of Israel do men trample under their feet; I say trample under their feet but I would speak in other words- they set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels.

president-thomas-s-monson-lds-591264-printWhat counsels have we received? Very recently in general conference we received counsel from his Prophet and Apostles.

Our dear prophet, President Monson, spoke with all the energy he could muster. He only had the strength to speak for a few minutes at a time- once during the priesthood session, and again on Sunday morning. What did he say? Read the Book of Mormon every day, and be kind. Of all the things he could have said, these are them.

Read the Book of Mormon every day.

Be kind.

Will we set these things at naught?

A Special Holiday

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Last Sunday in Primary, the sharing time teacher asked the children if they knew what General Conference was.

One adorable little boy raised his hand and said, “It is a special holiday where we stay home from church and watch it on TV.”

I loved his words. ...A special holiday. So true!meme-mcconkie-words-prophets-manna-1389784-print

We all have holiday traditions. For Christmas, we always get our tree and set things up the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Every night we have our advent gifts and study the life of Christ. On Christmas Eve we always see a movie and go out to dinner. Stockings always have the same goodies- I have one child who makes sure of it. Thanksgiving, Easter, even Halloween for some people. We love our traditions and it makes the day even more special and meaningful.

Well, many of us also have traditions for General Conference weekend (called GenCo at our house). Many of them may have started out of desperation when our kids were young, in order to keep them still for at least a few minutes. We have always had a buffet, and gathered in our pajamas with comfy blankets and pillows. We look forward to it every 6 months.

At Thankgiving we give thanks, and spend time with the ones we love. Christmas celebrates the birth of our Savior, and at Easter we remember and celebrate His atonement and resurrection. Our thoughts are turned to important, eternal things on these special holidays. It is the same with General Conference.

first-presidency-lds-477209-printWe are so flippin lucky! Think about it- we get to be directly instructed by a prophet and apostles of God! Twice a year! Us Mormons seriously have it good- 2 extra holidays a year, which fill us and teach us and increase our capacity and ability to love and to work our way through this life.

Like many holidays- let’s be prepared. For Thanksgiving, we plan and prep the meals with care. At Christmastime we decorate and prepare gifts.

What about General Conference?

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said,

“As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. … There are messages in each general conference given as a gift and a blessing from heaven specifically for our personal life situations.”

And from Elder Robert D Hales:

“As the time for conference arrives, we sacrifice other activities, laying aside the things of this world, to seek for the things of a better. Then we gather our families to hear the word of the Lord, as King Benjamin’s people did.”

So how can we prepare?

  1. Pray- we all have something going on in our lives right now. We all need direction. Write down what you need, and pray and ponder on it over the next week so that you are prepared to receive answers during conference.
  2. Actually watch (or listen to) conference! It’s 2 days that will fill you for 6 months or more. Set the time aside. Sacrifice the things of this world for something better.

By coming to conference with a soft and open heart, and laying aside the things of the world, we will be ready for what God would have us hear. And we will be ready to implement those teachings into our lives.

Decide now to make general conference a priority in your life. Decide to listen carefully and follow the teachings that are given. Listen to or read the talks more than once to better understand and follow the counsel. By doing these things, the gates of hell will not prevail against you, the powers of darkness will be dispersed from before you, and the heavens will shake for your good.              – Paul V Johnson, of the Seventy

What a blessing!

What a special holiday!