So one of my favorite chapters in all of recorded scripture also is one of the most repetitions and monotonous in all of recorded scripture. If any of you are familiar with the Book of Mormon and it's stories, you are likely familiar with the 77 verse allegory (76 if you remove Jacob's intro to the passage) of the Vineyard recorded in Jacob chapter 5.
For background, this allegory, recorded by an ancient prophet named Zenos. It tells the tale of a Lord of a vineyard who repeatedly nourishes, grafts, digs, and dungs a series of olive trees. Throughout the allegory the efforts of the Lord of the vineyard and his servant are recorded as they try and preserve good fruit, while eliminating the bitter. This allegory is long and covers a vast sea of topics, themes, and types, but I wish to focus on two verses located in the latter-half of the chapter:
65 And as they begin to grow ye shall clear away the branches which bring forth bitter fruit, according to the strength of the good and the size thereof; and ye shall not clear away the bad thereof all at once, lest the roots thereof should be too strong for the graft, and the graft thereof shall perish, and I lose the trees of my vineyard.
66 For it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard; wherefore ye shall clear away the bad according as the good shall grow, that the root and the top may be equal in strength, until the good shall overcome the bad, and the bad be hewn down and cast into the fire, that they cumber not the ground of my vineyard; and thus will I sweep away the bad out of my vineyard.
These verses highlight an important attribute of this mortal life. That attribute is simply that the Lord's will for us is to grown in strength, experience, and spiritual maturity. But in order to accomplish this goal, there must be an opposition. Just as weight-lifting achieves no purpose in zero-gravity, so too does life lose it's purpose if there is no opposition.
In the allegory, the Lord of the vineyard commands his servants to remove the bad branches only as the good branches are able to have strength sufficient. The Lord has promised us that he will not tempt us above that which we are able to overcome (1 Cor. 10:13). And so in this allegory, Zenos outlines that the Lord will let us struggle and grow in strength, so that we can become as a tree planted with firm roots and strong branches.
I believe I have spoken a bit on the need for opposition, for without it we cannot grow. Remember that it takes no effort to be a loser, or to stay at a low level. Face those encumbering trials around you and know that God will clear them away as you grow in strength to face them. I know that the Lord gives us strength sufficient for all trials we endure, all according to the faith that we have in him. So endure with faith and press forward, knowing that there is a land of paradise ahead.
I hope that you all have a great week!
Love, Elder Gailey