Monday, September 1, 2014

Alma 32:37-39 -- On Faith and Forestry

"And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.
But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof."
Alma 32:37-39

This is later in Alma's lesson, comparing God's word to a seed and how, in order to know the truth, we should actually have the faith to try planting/living it.  And this part is basically saying that if we find that the experiment works, that the word grows within us and helps us to be happy, that we see it growing into a tree, that we need to nourish it and allow it to grow further.  It is kind of like the parable of the sower (Mark 4 / Matthew 13).  If the word is planted in our hearts, even when we see results and feel happiness from it, it doesn't mean that we can just sit back and do nothing, and continue in that brief moment.  Once we get a testimony, we still have to have faith to work at it, and help it grow.  We can't just say that one day I was converted, and from then on I was permanently saved, and didn't really have to make an effort anymore.  It doesn't work that way.  That initial testimony, that initial conversion... that's the *beginning,* not the end.  That's where we start growing and expanding and learning and becoming... and if we don't, then we can lose it.  Just like a plant or a relationship that we neglect, our testimonies can sicken and lose the spark of life.  Alma makes it clear that it isn't because God's word wasn't good.  It started to grow.  We felt it, and knew we were going in the right direction.  It is because we didn't provide fertile ground and nourishment.
Today, let's make our souls places where God's word can grow.  Let's accept the responsibility for keeping our testimonies alive, and not selfishly ask God to keep proving himself over and over and over.  We are the ones that need to do some proving, and improving.  We are not doing God a favor by accepting his truth... he is doing *us* a favor by offering it.  Let's be thankful, and care tenderly for the gift that he has given us.  Let's learn and grow and turn our small saplings into forests where we can rejoice and partake of the fruit of God's love.

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