September 28-October 11
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Second week becoming acquainted with these chapters. Christ is visiting the Nephites, and He asks for two groups of people to be brought to Him. These are two groups that He is still asking for. The first group He asks for are those with infirmities.
3 Nephi 17:7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
The second group He asks for are the children.
3 Nephi 17:11 And it came to pass that he commanded that their little children should be brought.
These are two groups that He is still asking us to bring to Him. As members of the kingdom of God, we have a responsibility to bring those who are spiritually infirm as well as the young generation unto the Savior. Interestingly enough, at one point or another in our lifetime, we will find ourselves among the spiritually infirm.
So how do we bring others to Christ? Let’s learn from the story, shall we?
Principle One: Your faith is sufficient
So a principle from the spiritually infirm group.
3 Nephi 17:8 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.
Your faith is sufficient that I should heal you. We bring people to Christ so that they can be healed and consequently, converted. Christ has all power; He can obviously heal His saints. However, His ability to heal us is limited by the amount of faith we can put in Him. Ether 12:12 If there’s no faith among the children of men, God can do no miracle among them. Spencer W. Kimball put it this way.
“The need of faith is often underestimated. The ill one and the family often seem to depend wholly on the power of the priesthood and the gift of healing that they hope the administering brethren may have, whereas the greater responsibility is with him who is blessed.”
So it is our faith that heals us. This is interesting from the standpoint of our personal repentance. We have to trust in Christ to be cleansed, and then we have to trust that He actually cleansed us in order to move on and heal and be happy. This is also interesting from the standpoint that while we may occasionally bring people to be physically healed, we are most often bringing the spiritually infirm to Him. What about their faith or lack thereof?
Never fear. There is an answer.
14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
15 Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
It was the faith of the missionaries that brought the miracle of conversion to their brothers and sisters. Have faith in Christ’s ability to soften hearts. Have faith in His ability to send the Spirit to testify of your broken or simple or in-any-way-inadequate testimony. Have faith in His ability to send crazy miracles and answers and whatever else is needed for conversion. The ability to have faith is the ability to rejoice. Rejoice in what Christ can do for our loved ones, and be patient if it’s not time yet.
Principle Two: From different places
So Christ has healed the infirm, and then he asked the Nephites to bring their little children. The next few principles will come from this one verse.
3 Nephi 17:12 So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought unto him.
These people were bringing their children from different places and walking different paths. Some of them might have had different obstacles or obstructions to walk around. Some were carried to Christ; some little children may have walked. This was a group of 2,500 people, and so I’m assuming that it couldn’t have been easy to make your way to the front with your little child or children. But they did it, and each individual did it differently than every other individual present. They all had to come to Christ, but it always looked different.
I will never be able to repeat President Nelson’s advice enough. We have to learn how to Hear Him. Only He has the answers for your child, your path, your circumstance. We have to stop placing limited boundaries on what it “looks like” to follow Christ. He has given us commandments, and we should follow them. But He also knew we would need the Spirit because the commandments don’t cover everything. If the Spirit has whispered something to you about a loved one, stop and listen. If the Spirit hasn’t whispered anything lately, start repenting and growing and listening.
Principle Three: They have to trust you
So the adults were charged with bringing their children to Christ. If you want to take a child somewhere, they have to trust you. If you’re their parent, then sometimes it’s just a wild card whether they’re going to come or not. But in general, if you’re an adult, and you want to take a child somewhere peacefully, they have to trust you.
And this goes beyond familiarity or respect for you. They have to trust that you’re taking them somewhere where they will be okay. The best way to help your children want Christ in their lives is to show them what Christ does in your life. Show them how He makes your marriage stronger and healthier. If you’re divorced, show them how He brings you comfort. Christ fits every scenario, no matter how broken or worried you may feel. If you show them what Christ can do for you in your circumstance, they will want Christ to help them in their circumstance.
The best kind of “following” is a willingness and a desire to follow. That is the strongest kind. You can coerce your kids. You can force them and push them and try taking things away, but the best way to guarantee their testimony is to give them a chance to voluntarily choose it. No other testimony will be sufficient, especially in our day and age. They can’t voluntarily choose Christ if you never give them another option. Mistakes will happen; that’s where the faith comes in again. Give them a chance to choose Him.
You are brought closer
I remember thinking to myself while reading this how jealous I was that the kids got to go and sit at His feet. I know every individual got an individual moment with Christ, but I still felt a little bit jealous that the kids got to go sit with Him. This doesn’t directly translate because we will always have Christ. However, it did make me realize a different principle.
When you have to take someone to Christ, you have to walk closer to Christ. The more times you start taking someone, the more times you have to be near Him. There will be many times that Christ will be there for us, simply as individuals in our times of need or greatest joy. But the easiest way to access Him that I’ve found is to take someone to Him. It’s like turning on a light. It comes so much more easily when we try to bring someone else than when we’re simply just trying to get there alone.