With such a presumptuous title, let me back track a bit. =)
When you put on paper the following situation, it doesn’t really seem too intense. But those who have lived it or who have the gift of knowing without experiencing– know the feeling of stress, frustration and desperation I’m going to describe.
Its almost bedtime, you just finished cooking dinner, work for your husband is taking longer than either of you expected, one child is relentlessly teasing the other, the baby is only happy in your arms, and you are trying, one-handed, to chop stuff to make a salad. You are on the verge of tears and then– your child comes over to you and says, “Mama, what can I do to help?”
You look down at him. Even though he is only 5, even though he often drops part of what you’ve asked him to carry and even though he was the teaser two seconds earlier, those few words are drops of water to your parched soul– and now you will be strong enough to make it through.
I don’t know if being the God of our Universe includes stressful moments that He can perfectly navigate. But I do think that when one of our little prayers, “God, what would Ye have me do today?” reaches Him, He smiles. It must be one of His favorite questions…
Why? Why does it help so much when we hear the willingness of another soul to help us with what we are working on?
When the children were teasing each other, I felt like I was the only one who cared about dinner on the table. When Isaac walked away from the revelry and offered his help, his willingness made the reality of dinner on the table more likely. Without his help, I probably still could make dinner happen. But with his help, the evening is going to be much more enjoyable for everyone.
In Moses 1:39, God proclaims what He is working on:
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
When we offer in our little way, our time and our heart to His cause, we are joining Him. By joining Him, we are aligning what we want with what He wants. Of course, He knows how it will end. And our little bit of help is just a drop in the ocean of His omnipotence.
A journalist once questioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her hopeless task of rescuing the destitute in that city. He said that, statistically speaking, she was accomplishing absolutely nothing. This remarkable little woman shot back that her work was about love, not statistics. Notwithstanding the staggering number beyond her reach, she said she could keep the commandment to love God and her neighbor by serving those within her reach with whatever resources she had. “What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean,” she would say on another occasion. “But if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less [than it is].
Mother Teresa, and many other devoted disciples of Jesus Christ, decide how to use their time based on their morning prayer, “God, what would Thou have me do today to help in Thy work?”
When you go to church, you can go expecting people to say hi to you, teachers to say something worthwhile in class, and speakers to bring the Spirit. Or, you can say a prayer before you go to church. “God, who would Thou have me say hi to at church today?” “God, what would Thou have me speak?” and “God, what would Ye have me do to bring the Spirit?”
God allows us to join Him in His work of Salvation. Even when we drop things sometimes.
He smiles on our willingness. He gives specific direction to those who faithfully ask, who expect to hear and who then go and do. He assures us of our worth- and the worth of each of His children- each time this interchange occurs.
With these thoughts in mind, here is the accompying scripture smore. Study hard!
S: (Prayer/Ask) Why does God allow me to join in His work? How can I prove my willingness to help?
- Read the following experience President Monson shared. As you read, look for where and how God was involved. (Its a long story-but such a great one!)
May I share with you the account of how our Heavenly Father answered the prayers and pleadings of one woman and provided her the peace and assurance she so desperately sought?
Tiffany’s difficulties began last year when she had guests at her home forThanksgiving and then again for Christmas. Her husband had been in medicalschool and was now in the second year of his medical residency. Because of the long work hours required of him, he was not able to help her as much as they both would have liked, and so most of that which needed to be accomplished during this holiday season, in addition to the care of their four young children, fellto Tiffany. She was becoming overwhelmed, and then she learned that one whowas dear to her had been diagnosed with cancer. The stress and worry began to take a heavy toll on her, and she slipped into a period of discouragement and depression. She sought medical help, and yet nothing changed. Her appetite disappeared, and she began to lose weight, which her tiny frame could ill afford. She sought peace through the scriptures and prayed for deliverance from the gloom which was overtaking her. When neither peace nor help seemed to come, she began to feel abandoned by God. Her family and friends prayed for her andtried desperately to help. They delivered her favorite foods in an attempt to keep her physically healthy, but she could take only a few bites and then would be unable to finish.
On one particularly trying day, a friend attempted in vain to entice her with foods she had always loved. When nothing worked, the friend said, “There must be something that sounds good to you.”
Tiffany thought for a moment and said, “The only thing I can think of that sounds good is homemade bread.”
But there was none on hand.
The following afternoon Tiffany’s doorbell rang. Her husband happened to behome and answered it. When he returned, he was carrying a loaf of homemade bread. Tiffany was astonished when he told her it had come from a woman named Sherrie, whom they barely knew. She was a friend of Tiffany’s sister Nicole, who lived in Denver, Colorado. Sherrie had been introduced to Tiffany and her husband briefly several months earlier when Nicole and her family were staying with Tiffany for Thanksgiving. Sherrie, who lived in Omaha, had come to Tiffany’s home to visit with Nicole.
Now, months later, with the delicious bread in hand, Tiffany called her sister Nicole to thank her for sending Sherrie on an errand of mercy. Instead, she learned Nicole had not instigated the visit and had no knowledge of it.
The rest of the story unfolded as Nicole checked with her friend Sherrie to find outwhat had prompted her to deliver that loaf of bread. What she learned was aninspiration to her, to Tiffany, to Sherrie—and it is an inspiration to me.
On that particular morning of the bread delivery, Sherrie had been prompted to make two loaves of bread instead of the one she had planned to make. She said she felt impressed to take the second loaf with her in her car that day, although she didn’t know why. After lunch at a friend’s home, her one-year-old daughter began to cry and needed to be taken home for a nap. Sherrie hesitated when the unmistakable feeling came to her that she needed to deliver that extra loaf of bread to Nicole’s sister Tiffany, who lived 30 minutes away on the other side of town and whom she barely knew. She tried to rationalize away the thought,wanting to get her very tired daughter home and feeling sheepish about delivering a loaf of bread to people who were almost strangers. However, the impression to go to Tiffany’s home was strong, so she heeded the prompting.
When she arrived, Tiffany’s husband answered the door. Sherrie reminded him that she was Nicole’s friend whom he’d met briefly at Thanksgiving, handed him the loaf of bread, and left.
And so it happened that the Lord sent a virtual stranger across town to deliver not just the desired homemade bread but also a clear message of love to Tiffany. What happened to her cannot be explained in any other way. She had an urgent need to feel that she wasn’t alone—that God was aware of her and had not abandoned her. That bread—the very thing she wanted—was delivered to her by someone she barely knew, someone who had no knowledge of her need but who listened to the prompting of the Spirit and followed that prompting. It became an obvious sign to Tiffany that her Heavenly Father was aware of her needs and loved her enough to send help. He had responded to her cries for relief.
- Remember this powerful verse: 1 Nephi 4:6 “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.. ” Read a few verses before and a few verses after to place it in context. Study how Nephi was lead by the Spirit.
- Read Alma 37:6-7 Even though these verses are referring to the preservation of the scriptures, think how the same principle can be applied to the way God allows us to join in His work. “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass…And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord…bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
- Do I really believe that He will give me specific guidance of what He would have me do?
- How does God speak to me? How will I know He is telling me something to do?
- Think of a few ways you can prove your willingness to help.
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: Why does God allow me to join in His work? How can I prove my willingness to help?) Also consider writing down the following:
- write down a time that you felt that what you did for someone else was exactly what God wanted you to do.
- write down a list of good things that come from God allowing us to join in His work
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: In your morning prayer, ask God “What would Ye have me do today to help with Thy work?” Be ready for a job and then go do it! =)
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