2 Nephi 11
In this chapter Nephi outlined why he was going to write “more of the words of Isaiah” in his record. “For my soul delighteth in his words…for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him….Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end…all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him” (2 Nephi 11:2, 4). Nephi wanted everyone to know “there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fulness of his own time” as part of the great “plan of deliverance” to save us from sin and death.
Nephi “[delighted] in the covenants of the Lord [and] in his grace, and in his justice, and power, and mercy.” He knew that happiness and hope in this life and eternal life are possible because of Jesus Christ’s infinite atonement and resurrection. He reminded us that as we study and “see these words” of Isaiah concerning the coming and covenants of Christ we “may lift up [our] hearts and rejoice…and ye may liken them unto you.”
I had some learning and likening experiences one day last week which caused me to delight in Christ and lift up my heart as I felt His grace through loving, personal messages I needed. I had expressed some frustration to my husband about wanting to see and know the next big plans the Lord has for us. In many ways I feel like we’ve accomplished some of the big plans we started out with and wonder are we still doing what we are supposed to be doing or should we be doing something more or living somewhere different. It was then that I opened a book and saw the words that the Lord needed me to see. As I read about Jane Austen’s famous character, Emma Woodhouse, and her desires to live in a bigger city among different people I learned what I needed to learn about the little things of daily life–my interactions and conversations with my family and neighbors. The little things matter. They are the big things. Listening to others is important. Sharing in their joys and sorrows is vital. Being with the people God has surrounded me with matters. He can’t be here with each of us, but we can be with each other to learn and lift, to comfort and mourn, and to share burdens and joys.
As author William Deresiewicz noted “Emma was always looking in the wrong direction. Her heart was in the right place–that was…finally, what saved her–but her busy brain led her astray. While she plotted her schemes and dreamed her dreams, her “daily happiness” was right there in front of her, in “little affairs, arrangements, perplexities, and pleasures”–the hourly ordinary, in all its granular specificity.” (A Jane Austen Education, 2011.)
And with that little reminder I set about with the affairs I have been charged with and went to a neighbor’s house whom I had been needing to meet and enjoyed learning about her and her family and making a small connection heart to heart. Upon my return I took a few moments to write up my little comments I had made Sunday in class that I had been asked to share. It was another reminder to me about the big picture consisting of all the little things. I wrote:
When considering our activities and priorities it is important to remember our intent. Are we doing something for our own glory or for the glory of God? Are we doing something for our personal gain, prominence, or power? Or, are we doing something because we love God, we love others, or we want to share God’s gifts and blessings? When we love and serve others we are loving, serving, and worshipping God. By doing good, we are bringing others to His light and love and thus helping to bring to pass His great work of salvation. This brings glory to Him. When we feed and bathe and teach our children in an attitude of love, we are serving Him. When we go to work so that we can provide for our families‘ temporal needs and share our abundance with others, we are engaged in the Lord’s work. When we learn all that we can learn from great books and great teachers, we gain knowledge and skills so we can be more useful in building the Lord’s kingdom. When we serve in our callings with willing hands and hearts, we are putting the Lord first. Marriage, family, friends, neighbors, education, work, church, temple, and community service are all part of Heavenly Father’s work of salvation. We achieve greater balance in our lives when we see that all the good we do and all the love we give are part of the Lord’s great work, part of our great work (see D&C 64:33-34).
All of my great work–all the good I do, and all the love I give–is done little by little, hour by hour, day by day. And all of these little things are part of the big picture of my life and your lives. They are the things that matter most. And that is when I saw this picture and knew that I had the answer for now and always regarding my big picture and the Lord’s big plans for me. He is the reason. He is my example. I am to love like He did and listen like He did one by one. He is my guide. Moment by moment He will show me all of the small and simple things and the sometimes big things He needs me to do. I am truly grateful for and delight in His words and messages to me that keep me moving closer to Him little by little, day by day.
*Share an experience when you delighted in Christ.
Click here for additional Book of Mormon posts.