Monday, January 11, 2016

Humility and Wisdom

Hello Everyone!

Recently I've stared up a practice that I had at the beginning of my mission, and that is writing down a list of things I want to study, or things that caught my eye that warrant further reading and investigation.  Today's post is the result of that practice.  

As I was reading through the 32nd chapter of Alma, where Alma gives a great discourse on faith and how the word of God can be likened unto a seed, verse 12 caught my eye.  

"I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble."

As I read through this verse my mind made a connection between the attributes of wisdom and humility; or between the acts of being humbled and learning wisdom.  This was a connection that I hadn't given much thought to before now, but it sparked my interest enough to lead on a scripture chase to find more answers concerning the subject.  

I suppose the first point to bring up is why we need to be humbled.  In most cases we have need to be humbled because we aren't living a commandment or principle, either at all or in as great of a measure as our Heavenly Father would have us live it.  We need to be humbled so that we can learn to pray more earnestly, or to truly search and ponder upon the scriptures, to learn how to take council from the Lord and not to try and council him.  In his talk "Beware of Pride" Ezra Taft Benson makes the statement that "The Lord will have a humble people" and much as Alma declares in chapter 32, we can either choose to be humble or compelled to be humble.  One of the many reasons that the Lord will have a humble people is that the humble are malleable, prepared, and softened that they might hear, understand, and act upon the word of God.  

As in the previous line, there are three main types of people:

1. Those that merely hear the word, much like those that only heard the story when Christ taught in parables.  They only saw the surface content, and didn't probe any deeper.

2. Those who heard and understood the word that took the time and consideration to probe deeper into the teachings of Christ and of the prophets.  Understanding is a good first step, for it empowers the pupil far more than in just hearing a nice story.  But an understanding is not enough in the perspective of eternity

3.  These are they who hear the word, cherish and understand it, and become doers of the word.  They get down to business and work.  In one of my favorite quotes currently, Vaughn J. Featherstone relates the difference between understanding, and doing:

"The teacher or leader must not only be first in knowledge, in prophecy, and in understanding the mysteries, but he must also be first in performance. I believe that it is not only an offense to the people but also an offense to God when priesthood leaders, teachers, and members of the Church never really get down and serve the people, do not do their duty, do not magnify their callings, and do not fill their stewardships. We ought to bend our backs in our callings in such a way that our words and teachings are always racing to keep up with our acts." 

 ("Charity Never Faileth", Vaughn J. Featherstone, BYU Speeches Feb 1979)

If we are truly humble, we will become doers of the word that we might come to know of the doctrine more fully (John 7:17).  In ways we all embody the above three attributes.  We all at times merely hear the words, but don't comprehend.  Or we understand what is being said, but we don't bother to act.  But when we hear, understand, and apply our hearts to understanding as Abinidi teaches in Mosiah 12:27, then we are truly wise indeed.  

The Lord will have us be humble, so that we can learn to apply ourselves in a way that blesses us, and those around us.  It is truly in action that we learn wisdom, but if we, as imperfect beings, were never humbled we would never have a reason to change our ways for we would see no need to.  I know that being humbled isn't the greatest feeling, because it means that we were wrong and have had to check our pride.  But the feelings of joy and the comforts of the Spirit that come as we align our will step by step with God's will far outweigh the momentary discomforts of admitting that we aren't as perfect as we'd like to believe.  

I love you all, and hope that you have a great week!

Love, Elder Gailey

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