Oh how I love fist Nephi! I love to pour over the pages—or maybe I’m just a slow reader and tend to start the Book of Mormon more often than I finish it. I think the pages of First Nephi are so full of very basic truths for that very reason. Mostly what I take away from that book is the power each of us have through our Father in Heaven, and that we each have PERSONAL COMMANDMENTS. Think about it, we aren’t all commanded to go and build a ship, yet Nephi was. We aren’t all commanded to go into the wilderness, but Lehi was. We are all asked to do thing in life that everyone else isn’t. We all have a mission.
What is your mission? Do you know it? Among my homeschooling community, we talk about life missions a lot. Our life mission and our children’s life missions. How do we prepare our children for their life mission? One of the best ways is to discover our own, as mothers, and follow it. I have to admit that was a new concept for me. I honestly had a mind frame of career and motherhood. I knew I needed an education in case I needed to someday provide for a family, but I never once thought about what my life mission would be. What was I put on this earth for? Was it only to raise my five children?
I don’t know how many people really do know what they were put on this earth for, or maybe it is just me. I always wanted one of those no doubt talents—you know the ones where there is no question. You open your mouth and the sound of angels come out—bam! You were put on this earth to sing. You touch your fingers to the piano—bam! You were put here to play. You have the heart of Mother Teresa—bam! You are meant to live your life among the poor and fatherless.
Maybe the subject of talents is for another day, but there are things each of us is commanded to do, and I LOVE First Nephi for that reason. I was reading in chapter 16 the other day, and it was talking about the Liahona and was specifically saying, “The pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.” That kinda hit me like a rock. Faith. Diligence. Heed.
I have wanted a Liahona for as long as I can remember. I would love clear cut direction straight from the Lord. Yet it only worked by faith, diligence, and heed. Faith is tough, but one thing I do know about faith is that it is taking one step in the darkness. So if God has given me direction for my life, I’ve got to take that step before I understand HOW He is going to accomplish things in my life. I’ve got to take that step towards the direction I feel prompted to go. In chapter 17:3 it reads, “And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.” Nephi was talking about a personal commandment here—the commandment for them to sojourn in the wilderness. I have to take that step in the darkness. I have to try.
Diligence is defined as, “careful and persistent work or effort.” If we persist—even if we haven’t seen HOW God will provide a means for us, we will receive more direction from the Lord. When I read this, I realized that my efforts to follow through with what the Lord had commanded me were nowhere near careful and persistent. There was not a lot of work or effort being put into my personal commandments. Sometimes on my part, a lack of faith leads to a lack of diligence. I don’t know how God will help me accomplish everything I need to do, so I don’t try. He isn’t asking for perfection—just persistent effort.
Heed was the world that I really noticed this time reading. I had obviously noticed it before as it was circled in a couple of different colors, but I REALLY noticed it this time. The online dictionary that I used to try to understand this better, says that heed is a verb. A VERB! That mean that I actually HAVE TO DO SOMETHING! Again, for me, a lack of faith leads to a lack of heed. Yet a lack of heed leads to a lack of faith. God can’t do anything in my life if I don’t do anything!
Nephi was commanded to build a ship. A ship, mind you, that he had NO IDEA how to build. The difference between a good ship and a poor ship is the difference between life and death. There weren’t ship building schools in the wilderness. No books on ship construction, and he didn’t even have the internet to be able to YouTube it! Yet, he says, “If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done. And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?” (1 Nephi 17:50-51)
How is it that he cannot instruct me in my life mission? How is it that he cannot help me fulfill my personal commandments? He can—He will. I just need to be faithful, diligent, and actually do it!
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