Sunday, March 03, 2013

Are You Listening?

Today’s lesson in priesthood quorum had to do with listening to the Holy Ghost; but not only listening, acting upon the promptings given.  It’s a little like getting a job and then finding out the boss expects productivity in order to get paid; some of you were saying to yourselves, “I knew there was a catch”.

A friend of mine shared a recent experience to illustrate the point.  He’d come home from work and noticed his wife and pregnant daughter sitting together on the sofa watching television earlier in the afternoon than normal.  The idea came to him, “Should I ask my daughter if she’d like a father’s blessing so she would be at peace and not worry about having the baby?”  The thought came and went as he found she’d been having contractions during the afternoon; but the contractions had ceased, a false alarm.

A short while later the promptings came to him again, “Ask you daughter if she’d like a father’s blessing”; but the idea came and went without taking any action.  In the middle of the night his daughter started having contractions, more serious this time, and went to the hospital to deliver the baby. 

My friend bowed his head and explained, “It was too late, she was already having the baby.  I knew I should have acted when I first heard the promptings; I’m guilty”.  (As with the television show Dragnet, names were omitted to protect the innocent)

How many times are we given an opportunity to do things the Lord’s way; but for some reason or another we put off the promptings of the Spirit?  Hearing isn’t enough; we have to act.

Another friend chimed in, telling how he’d started off the day with the idea that he needed to get a set of jumper cables to keep in his car; something we all should have and yet it wasn’t a pressing issue.  That evening his wife called; sure enough, she was stranded needed a jump off.  My friend had to enlist his neighbor’s help because his jumper cables were hanging in the garage instead of being in the car where they would have done some good.

It reminded me of a short story written by Lewis Padgett many years ago, What You Need, about a very specialized curio shop.  Thinking of this gave me an opportunity to find the old collection of stories sitting on my bookshelf, under the title, A Gnome There Was, and indulge a little time reading these wonderful old Sci-fi meanderings.

In the story, an inquisitive journalist wondered about the goings on at a small shop that catered to the wealth and prominent and yet didn’t appear to have much to offer, at least not from anything you could see inside the establishment.  He observed a variety of objects leave the store; but these items didn’t appear to have any specific value, not that a person of means would require.

The sign in the shop declared, “We have what you need”, and the proprietor, having endured an endless steam of questions from the young man finally offered him a chance to partake of the service, at a greatly reduced rate, payable upon satisfaction along with his promise not to return again.  It would only cost him five dollars; too good to pass up, what would it be.

After leaving the shop with package in hand he found it was a pair of scissors with instructions to keep them with him at all times that day.  He wondered if they were significant, some historically important pair of scissors that belonged to a famous person at one time, or if he’d been scammed as he placed them in the pocket of his jacket.

Latter in the evening, after having had too much to drink he visited the newspaper office where his scarf got caught in the machinery at the presses.  Each click of the huge cogs took him closer to a life ending situation.  Had it not been for the scissors in his pocket to cut the cloth…; but how did the old man know what would be needed?   I won’t spoil the story for you; go read it for yourself.

It’s not my purpose to confuse Sci-fi with the promptings of the Spirit; but it made for an interesting train of thought this morning while the lesson was in progress. 

We all have the opportunity to have the Spirit of the Lord play an active role in our lives.  It requires obedience to the commandments along with a willingness to live in such a way as to become one of his disciples.  The more we are in tune with the Spirit the more easily we recognize the still small voice which prompts us. 

Often these promptings are about simple things like saying, “I love you” to your wife at just the right moment in order to let her have a wonderful feeling.  Other times it’s to tell you to put a set of jumper cables in the trunk; go figure.

It’s not enough to hear the message; action is required within a timely manner.  Are you listening?

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

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