“The restoration of the gospel was not a restoration of rules; it was a restoration of reasons. The Ten Commandments actually made it through the apostasy. It was the reasons to keep the commandments that were lost.” Brad Wilcox, Department of Teacher Education at BYU
This statement is one of those that can stop you in your tracks when you first read it, make you go back and read it again, and then stay in your mind long after the paper has been put down.
At least that’s what happened to me.
In so much of what we do each day, I think what matters the most is the reason we actually did, or didn’t, do something.
Nick calls it “the why” of what we do, and feels it is at the heart of our gospel living.
For instance, just contrast the widow who quietly gave her last mite vs. the man blowing the trumpet while dumping loads into the collection pot, and I think you get what I mean.
He certainly could be listed as one who obeyed every commandment; but it was the widow who had transcended to one who lives them.
I think it may be because she understood the reason she was doing what she was doing.
It was this statement about the restoration of reasons that caused me to slow down and really think about my own personal why.
Why do I do (or don’t do) the things I do each day?
Why do you?
My goal is that someday my reason will consistently be simply because I love the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind; and that I truly love my neighbor as myself.
It’s a pretty big why, I know.
I think what comes next, though, is even bigger.
Now that I’ve chosen my why, what am I going to do with it?
I guess the obvious answer is that I will try to serve and help those around me; you know, our favorite and always-right Sunday school answer?
So let’s walk through it:
Church is over for the day and I have resolved to do what I said I would. Feeling pretty good about myself, I stand up and tell the world “Okay, I’m ready to go. Let’s get serving.”
Everyone around me seems to be doing okay.
It all seems to be going well for my close neighbors.
I’ll look the other direction.
Nope, no trouble there either.
Well, I guess then that I can take a breather and just wait until I hear about someone who needs my help.
Then, for sure, I’ll be ready.
We may laugh at the absurdity of this little scenario, but I worry that it is all too real for many of us.
If we are honest, we will understand that on the surface, just about everyone will seem to be doing okay, all will appear to be going well, no one seems to have any big troubles – well, at least none that we are qualified to do anything about.
But we are wrong.
President Packer once said that if we looked at everyone around us and assumed that they had difficulty in their life that they needed help with, we’d be right more often than we’d be wrong.
I think that this may very well be the why behind the why, so to speak.
Why are we to love so completely and fully and simply?
Because it qualifies us to have the spirit to help us become aware.
Awareness isn’t a casual glance or passing observation; it’s downright hard work based in sincerity and concern for another.
It can be exhausting.
It can also be pretty scary.
Because it means that once we are aware, we must do something about it.
True awareness is an action verb.
That’s a pretty big commitment.
Some days I wonder if it’s just too big.
At least, not a choice that I want to make.
How about you?
What are you going to do with your why?