This does not make us better than another, it makes us whole. It allows the Lord to forgive us for our own, much greater offenses against Him. For when we are generous, we merit His Divine generosity. It is how we are healed. It is the means for our own salvation. Instead of thinking ourselves better than an offender, we should look upon them with gratitude for they provide the means to obtain salvation– provided we give them forgiveness from all their offenses. This is why we should rejoice and be exceedingly glad. (3 Nephi 12: 10-12.) They enable us to obtain salvation by despitefully using us, as long as we measure them by the same standard that allows God to forgive us.
Each day’s challenge is the end goal. In addition to severing the disciples from regular income, regular work for support, dependence on those to whom they minister for bread, drink, shelter and clothing, the Lord adds to their burden the heavy responsibility to “take no thought for the morrow.” For them their ministry is to be moment to moment. No planning and rehearsals. No staging and frantic preparation. No three-year budgets. Only now. Forever only now.
Is it to keep them humble?
Is it to prevent pride and arrogance?
Is it to require they remain in constant direct touch with at least some of those over whom they minister?
Is it to keep them keenly aware of the necessity of relying on Him?
If they cannot plan for more than the day’s events, how can they plan a busy travel schedule to take them all over the world? Is that somehow built in already to the “sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof?”
What kind of life would this create for His disciples chosen to minister to others? Would they ever be able to minister to more than just a few at a time under this system? If they are limited to serving only a few at a time, then how would an entire church receive benefit from this kind of spontaneous ministry? What kind of changes would that make in how a church is run and organized?
Just how impractical do we think this manner of organizing would be in a multi-national, multi-lingual, 13 million member church? If it is impractical, should the Lord’s teachings be revised or should we change our way of thinking about His church and system?
If this were to be implemented, how would you go about organizing it? Would you divide the world into twelfths? Within that division, would you expect the disciple assigned to “drop in” to stake conferences and ward meetings unannounced? Would that prevent central planning and budgeting by the chief disciples? Would it force the Presiding Bishop’s office to take concerns for all temporal concerns and budgets? Why would letting an Aaronic Priesthood office be concerned with temporal affairs and freeing up Melchizedek Priesthood for spiritual concerns be an unwelcome change?
Would this fundamentally transform the role of leadership? How? Would it be chaos, or would it be an improvement? Why?
Just how dumb an idea is this that Christ is teaching to the chosen twelve? If not dumb, then it is at least of limited practicality when growth in numbers and locations makes it burdensome? Was Christ’s teaching here short-sighted? Did He fail to make provisions for the modern church, with its global spread and cross-language needs and budgets?
When the Book of Mormon was restored, this sermon was restored to us. When restored, it clarified how this portion of the sermon was addressed to the presiding twelve disciples. Was there a Divine purpose or message behind it? Should it be considered as meaningful to us today? Christ lived an interesting life. He more or less followed this counsel, though in truth He understood and fulfilled the prophecies concerning Himself. Yet, throughout it all, He also seemed to surrender control to the Father in everything. (See, e.g., Mark 13: 32.) He commented on how spontaneous a life He lived, and how unpredictable things were when following the Spirit. (John 3: 6-8.)
What comes first? Why?
How can “all these things” then “be added unto you?” What are “these things?” Is it the food, raiment, etc.?
Why would the Lord want the disciples to first seek the kingdom of God before promising that the things would be “added unto” them?
If they don’t first seek the kingdom, then will things not be added to them?
What is “the kingdom of God?” Is there a difference between:
-The Church of Jesus Christ
-The Kingdom of God
What is the “kingdom of God” if it is not the church? When is the “kingdom” to be found? What is necessary for it to exist? Joseph Smith taught: “What constitutes the Kingdom of God? an administrator who has the power of calling down the oracles of God, and subjects to receive those oracles no matter if there is but 3, 4, or 6 there is the kingdom of God.” (William Clayton Journal entry January 22, 1843, capitalization as in original.) If we accept Joseph’s definition, why would the disciples be encouraged to “seek the kingdom of God?”
What does the clarification that the “kingdom of God” should be sought first tell us about everything else?
Has the “kingdom of God” been here before now? Is it here now? What does it mean to call down the oracles of God?
Does man control this or does God?
What is man’s role in establishing the “kingdom of God?” Is man’s role confined to “seeking first” for it to come? How would man seek it?
If you want to “seek the kingdom of God” how would you go about doing so?
What does your “seeking” have to do with the return of the “kingdom of God?”
The Lord will not bring again Zion without there being a people who are prepared to receive what He intends to bring. How can you do that?
“Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”
Christ illustrates His teaching of how His disciples are to be supported by analogy after analogy. He likens the principle of how His disciple-ministers are to be supported to:
-Fowls of the air, provided for by God.
Inherent in these analogies is the message that so long as fowls shall fly, this principle ought to be followed. So long as lilies remain on the earth growing wild, this manner of supporting His disciples ought to be followed. So long as grass shall be here, this principle should be followed.
The hopelessness of man’s presumed independence from God is stressed in His statement that by taking thought none of us “can add one cubit unto his stature.” Our lives are not ours. They belong to Him. We have no independence from Him. We are NOT self-existent beings. We borrow all we are and have from Him. Even, as it turns out, the dust from which we are made belongs to Him. (Mosiah 2: 20-25.)
If God gives us air to breathe, power to exist, the capacity to move, and sustains all of us from moment to moment, then how little faith is required to rely on Him to provide His disciples with food and raiment?
The analogy to Solomon is also telling. “Solomon, in all his glory” is a useful way to think of the greatest man can hope for himself. The glory of Solomon was legendary. The Queen of Sheba came and marveled at what she saw in his court. (1 Kings 10: 1-13.) This was splendor, wealth and power indeed! However, Christ reminds us that these man-made marvels are nothing compared with the beauty He can supply those who are “not of little faith.” He can cover a man in glory indeed. Not as the world defines glory, but the real glory. (See D&C 93: 28, 36.)
The purpose of putting a man in such a dependent state before God is not to find out whether God can take care of him. God already knows what a man needs before he should even ask. But the man will, by becoming so dependent upon God, acquire a broken heart and a contrite spirit, always quick to ask, quick to listen, quick to do. Vulnerability makes a man strong in spirit. Security and wealth make a man incorrectly believe in his independence from God.
He wants His disciples to be dependent upon Him. He wants them praying, and then grateful to Him for what He provides. He wants them, in a word, to become holy.
Such a system would be impractical in a post-industrial society like ours, wouldn’t it?
Is the different, more simple and very direct connection between the disciples and those to whom they ministered of value today? Is our modern sophisticated society unable to provide similar support today? Is Christ’s teaching on this point outdated? If it is, then can we disregard other portions also as outdated? How do we decide what to discard and what to keep?
The world will accept anything half-hearted. The world knows you love it, if you will just give in a little to its persuasion. Contamination is contamination and will eventually poison you. So any degree of unrighteousness is enough to please the world. For the Lord, however, it is all or nothing. It is complete fidelity to Him which alone will satisfy. Keeping one foot in the world, while giving lip service to Him will never meet the requirements for loving Him. (D&C 1: 31.)
This is a call to a much higher way of life. It is a much deeper and more meaningful way to approach God. It is inside you.
Hopefully, having it available as a book will spare me thousands of conversations. Hope you will all enjoy.
Christ’s admonition is troubling because the cares of this world distract us all. They impose upon us all. But Christ advises us to search endlessly for light.
The difference between filling yourself with light and filling yourself with darkness is what thoughts you entertain.
Everything begins in the mind. Words and works flow from thoughts. (Alma 12: 14.) While all three will be judged, it is in the mind where all else begins.
It is not enough to attempt to avoid evil by memorizing hymns. You can spend as many wasted hours humming hymns as singing rock songs. Neither one will particularly elevate you. Meditating on doctrine, pressing understanding, pondering deeply and engaging the mysteries of God are what will fill the mind with light.
There is so much in our faith that distracts and substitutes for light and truth. Think about these verses and filling your mind with light and truth: “And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that lightgroweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;” (D&C 50: 23-25.)
The Psalms were quoted by Christ more than any other scripture. They are filled with truths worth meditation.
Having darkness within you does not require an effort to be deliberately vile. The cares of this world, and coping with Babylon is all that is needed to keep you from acquiring light. Finding light requires a deliberate effort to notice it and take it in.
When we are filled with light the heavens notice. In fact, it is the light within us that heaven notices even from afar.