Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Is Not A Soul At This Time As Precious Unto God?"

Cover-12_copy_detailI have started reading my new book, "52 Life-Changing Questions from the Book of Mormon"
In this book the authors pose a question each week that they encourage you to reflect upon and see if it does not make a significant change in your life.
I am almost through the book and there have been some profound questions that have touched me deeply.

One of the first is this question, "Is not a soul at this time as precious unto God?"
I had not read this chapter until late yesterday evening, but it reminded me of something that had happened earlier that day.

I had made a run into Twin to have our printer looked at because it was just not working right.
The "geek" did the exact same things I had done and then just looked at me and matter of factly stated, "Your printer is broke.  You need a new one."
I was a little impatient and a little indifferent with his abrupt findings.
I picked up our printer and headed out the door thinking, "I wasted a trip into Twin for this!"
I was a little discouraged. It is a 22 mile drive to Twin on a not so friendly highway at times.

As I'm growling to myself as I'm heading for home, I find myself catching sight of an elderly lady walking down the road with a grocery bag in hand.  Her eyes met mine and I noticed her expression was sullen and sad and then for no reason at all I found myself smiling at her and nodding my head in a hello greeting.
Her response touched me deep within my heart.  Her face broke out in a big ole smile and I found myself thinking what a beautiful smile she had.
She was so excited over that small exchange.
It truly warmed my heart.
I found myself no longer frustrated with the "wasted" trip to town.

Just before turning in for the night.  I found myself reading a chapter of scripture and then this chapter in my book.  As I read, that brief exchange with that stranger started re-playing in my mind and that same surge of warmness and joy again filled my soul.

"Each of us is precious to God--and we should treat each other that way.  Sometimes the people in our lives can frustrate us.  At times it may be a spouse, a child, a coworker, or the clerk at the grocery store (do you always seem to pick the slowest line, too?)  It's easy to lose our patience and not see people as souls who are precious to God.  Perhaps we are in such a rush that we start to view other people as obstacles in the way of our important objectives, when actually our most important objective should be to care for these people.  When we see others for the precious souls they truly are, that perspective can change the way we act.  

Sister Chieko Okazaki wrote, 'Usually we get up in the morning and define our lives by tasks...Now, lists are important.  I have long lists myself.  
But I want you to think about it in a different way...Our real job is to be fully present to whomever we are with while we are doing the task...Perhaps you have to go to the store.  
Then your job is to be a pleasant presence on the street with the other drivers, to greet the clerk at the store with a smile, and to thank the person at the check-out stand sincerely.  
You can minster to these people while you are carrying out a task of administration.'

Given how busy we are, reaching out to others is not easy--even for the best of us.  
Consider this experience told by Elder Robert D Hales:
"I recall one occasion when I exchanged greetings at work with a colleague.
'How are You?' she asked.
'Fine,' I replied automatically.
'How are you?'
'I'm not so good,' she replied.  'My mother just died.'
I'm embarrassed to admit that I was already thinking ahead to my busy day, so her reply just rolled over me, and I continued walking toward my office.
But my friend stopped me and asked, 'Did you hear what I just said?  
My mother died, and you were the one person here I thought I could talk to about it.'
This woman was not a member of the Church, but she knew enough about me and my beliefs to know that I might be able to help her in her time of grief. 
Yet I had been so consumed with my own concerns that I had not listened.  
I would have missed the chance to comfort and lift this friend altogether if she had not persisted."

With my chosen profession it is very easy for me when at work to focus on the One and be a witness to how precious that soul is to our Father in Heaven.  But I fall short when it comes to " my spouse, geeks, other drivers or even the slow check out line."  With them I finding myself becoming short and impatient.
Since reading this chapter I am in hopes that I will do much better this New Year.

Another point the authors made that truly hit deep within was this point:

 "For some of us, is is difficult to recognize that our own souls are precious.
Some may look at others and feel that those people are great, worthwhile individuals, but they themselves are not...  'Why am I just a piece of broken down garbage?'
When you start to feel discouraged, when you are tempted to think that you are just a 'piece of broken down garbage' remember your soul is precious to God
He is aware of your intellect, your talents, your achievements--both public and private.
He wants you to feel that you are of value, that you are of worth, that you have your own unique contribution to make in this world.
You are precious to Him, simply because you are His."

With that brief exchange with that sweet elderly lady I felt that she was Precious to Him.

May we all try and see others as our Father in Heaven sees them because we are all His!

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