Every Good Thing
I’m thinking about the new year. I’m wondering what will befall me, what challenges I’ll face, and what changes will reshape my world. It is always like that for me as the tinsel of Christmas fads and the weight of improvement hangs heavy on my soul.
So lately I’ve been sensitive to find a better scale upon which to place my goals and see if they are worthy. This morning, I think I’ve found it, too.
The wisdom is in “Moroni 7:22 “…in Christ there should come EVERY good thing.” The concepts taught in this chapter of the Book of Mormon are three. I believe that we can balance all our goals, dreams, and projects for the next year against these criteria and if they fit, they will be worthy of our time, energies and talent.
So let’s explore together and I’ll share some stories from my recent experiences.
I am serving in the Provo Missionary Training Center and one of the special hours of each week is a Relief Society held with all the sister missionaries preparing to serve the Lord. Each Sunday morning, one sister missionary who is convert, is invited to tell her conversion story.
On this particular Sunday, a young girl from the Western United States told of a Mormon friend who kindly invited her to come to church with her when they were at a weekend social together. The convert declined.
The next week, at a related activity on the same day of the week, the Mormon girl, without guile or pretense, asked the same innocent question, “Will you go to Church with me tomorrow?”
Again, the answer was, “No, thank you.”
This interchange went on for more than two months, always with the same, simple invitation and the similar, definitive rejection.
Finally, the convert decided it was easier to accept the invitation, just once, than to have to reject her friend again. And the rest of the story followed without very many bumps and she was soon baptized.
“My friend,” she said, “just kept asking me because she knew once I accepted, I would come to know and feel the gladness of the gospel, too.”
In the same way, we can invited and entice those we love, again and again, to do good. We can invite ourselves, too, to seek for the best that is in our lives and spend more time there.
Lay Hold Upon Every Good Thing (verse 19)
What we touch this next year will make all the difference in our ability to reach worthy goals. I’m thinking particularly of computers, the internet, books/magazines, and videos.
As you reach out to touch your world, ask yourself this simple question, “Am I laying hold upon a very good thing?”
If not, then the answer is simple, no matter the brightness of the package, the suaveness of the invitation, or the innocence of the request. Remember, there is are different kind of scales to watch out for. They are the scales of evil. Don’t touch!
A friend said to me recently, “I’ve decided to go a whole year without playing a single online video game.” His implication was that he had decided he had more important responsibilities to attend to.
This is a reversal of the same principle and just as worthy. Not touching pornography, unworthy books/magazines, and keeping away from inappropriate and/or time-consuming video games will have the same effect. It will help us lay hold upon more good things.
This same concept is appropriate for my eating goals. If I don’t pick up what isn’t good for me, I’ll hardly have that particular item of food disable my goals of proper nutrition. It is all in the touching.
Finally, this is applicable to my spending habits. As the holiday season has advanced, I’ve been teased more than once with colorful ads and discount coupons. These have distracted me occasionally from more worthy pursuits in favor of personal greed.
The scale of “every good thing” will keep me weighing more carefully how I should exchange the value of my coins for the trinkets of the world.
Cleaving implies glue, duct tape, and clamps. It is more than a casual adherence to rules and regulations, it is burning desire to do the best we can in all that we do. It is long-term commitment at its highest level.
When my nephew married recently, I asked him on the morning of his wedding what he was most worried about going wrong that day.
He said, “Nothing.”
I was perplexed and said so.
He said, “Nothing can go wrong, because the only important thing will be right.”
You see he had chosen, pursued, and planned to marry in the temple. He had only pursued social interactions with girls that could go with him there. He had found one that waited while he kept his priesthood responsibility of serving a full-time mission, and then he took her to the place where marriage is eternal. He well understood what matters.
And so I must ask three questions as I prepare for the new year:
- Does this project, plan, or activity “invite and entice me to do good?”
- Does this video, tasty menu item, and current spending plan help me to “lay hold of every good thing?”
- Does this goal, dream, and aspiration cause me to “cleave unto every good thing?”
What a relief to know I will be closer to completely right if I balance my goals against these concepts! How much better can the new year be for me, you, and those we love if we’ll focus “on every good thing!”
Photos from sxc.hu. Used with permission.