Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feeding the Spiritually Weak

(This article was inspired by a talk given by Boyd K. Packer )

Jesus Christ told Peter, and told us to, "Feed my Sheep."   What does that mean?   Here is a story to give an idea:

There was a large family reunion and they planned to hold a large picnic.  They reserve a beautiful picnic ground in the country, and they have it all to themselves. When the the day came, the weather is perfect. They head out to their rightfully reserved spot, and get everything ready; the tables are in one long row. they had tablecloths and china. The tables are laden with every kind of delicious food: watermelon, corn on the cob, fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, cakes, pies, lemonade, soda—you get the picture?
Everyone is seated, and one of them was asked to bless the food. Everybody secretly hoped it would be a short prayer.  Then, just at that moment there is an interruption. A noisy old car jerks into the picnic grounds and sputters to a stop close to them. Everyone was upset. Didn’t the driver see the “reserved” signs? 

A worried-looking man emerges from the car and lifts the hood; a spray of steam comes out.  One of the family members, a mechanic, says, “That car isn't going anywhere unless it is fixed.” 
Several children spill from the car. They are ragged, dirty and noisy. The mother climbs out of the car and takes a box to an area nearby, sets the box down, lays a faded checkered blanket on the ground, and then starts laying out the food.  It is lunch time, and their children are hungry. She puts a few leftovers on some plates and then she nervously moves them about, trying to make it look like a meal for her hungry children, but there is not enough.  It is obvious that this family was in poor and humble circumstances.  
Everyone at the tables were waiting.  They were thinking, "Why did they arrive just at that moment? Such an inconvenient time. Why must we interrupt what we are doing to bother with outsiders? Why couldn't they have stopped somewhere else? They are not clean, nor decent looking! They are not like us. They just don’t fit in. What should we do?"

This is just a story, but now for the test.  If this really happened, what would you do?
Here are three choices:
-First, you could insist the parents keep their children quiet while you and the others have the blessing over the food. Thereafter you ignore them. After all, you took your time and energy planning the feast and reserving the place.
-The next choice. You do have an extra table, and you do have too much of some things. You could take a little of this and a little of that and lure the little children to the extra table. Then you could enjoy the  feast you and your family prepared without interruption. After all, you earned and payed for what you have. 
The final choice is that you go out to to the poor family and invite them to come and join your family.  They could all fit in after re-arranging some of the food and adding the extra table.  Everyone can somewhere to share the feast. Afterward, the mechanic can fix their car and give them something for their journey.

Which choice would you pick.  I do hope you picked number three.  Could there be any more pure enjoyment than seeing the faces of the poor family light up with joy after asking them to join you?  Could there be a more joyful feeling in your heart after feeding the hungry family and fixing their car?  

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints ask that Everyone, young and old, should try and help others, both physically and spiritually, whether it is a good deed, or some words of kindness/encouragement.   When Christ said to feed his sheep, his meaning is to spiritually feed his sheep.    

There are many many people out there who don't know anything about the gospel, and many are spiritually hungry, or even starving.   Even when someone is spiritually starving, they may reject the word, and reject Jesus's messengers (Missionaries).  Many missionaries and even non-LDS people wonder why many won't receive the gospel when first introduced to them.  Do you remember how reluctant you were to try any new food? Only after your mother urges you will you take a little, tiny portion on the tip of a spoon to taste it to see if you like it first.  Even then, like children and vegetables, some people receive the word, but are reluctant or don't want to follow some of the teachings.  Over time and through the spirit however, they can accept and follow the teachings and doctrine, and receive blessings for it.  Kinda like a child who ate their veggies can have dessert afterwards.

Do what Jesus asked, and that is to feed his sheep.

If you have questions, or if your interested and want to know more about the Church, visit the Church's website by clicking this link.  Or you could request a missionary visit at this link.

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