If you prefer to listen over reading an article, keep an eye on A Balanced Saint of Mind on YouTube. I post video versions of my blog posts on my channel. The video versions are often posted a little later than the written blog posts.
The Come Follow Me introduction this week inform us of this:
“Parley P. Pratt had been a member of the Church for about a month when he was called “into the wilderness” to preach the gospel (Doctrine and Covenants 32:2). Thomas B. Marsh had been a member for even less time than that when he was told, “The hour of your mission is come” (Doctrine and Covenants 31:3). Orson Pratt, Edward Partridge, and many others had likewise barely been baptized when their mission calls came.”
Parley was apparently lucky to have been a member for a whole month before being called out to a mission. His brother, Orson Pratt, was converted and baptized and called on a mission six weeks later. He was only 19 years old.
The weak things of the world
The church was in its earliest stages. No one had officially been a member for more than six months. The Lord may have been limited in His options when it came to “experience,” but the Lord likes to choose the weak things of the world anyway.
Doctrine and Covenants 35:13 Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit;
Doctrine and Covenants 35:17 And I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him;
I don’t know if anyone else shares my experience, but when I often thought of these early Saints, I always just pictured them easily preaching the gospel with all of this incredible power. They stood in front of congregations and baptized hundreds. There was persecution, of course, but they faced it bravely and conquered on.
These early Saints did preach with incredible power. They did baptize hundreds, and they did face persecution bravely. But the more I learn about powerful leaders in the church, both in its present and past, the more I come to realize that the Lord chooses extremely ordinary men and women.
He sends 18 and 19 year olds out to preach the gospel to the world. When Jesus Christ wanted to complete the most important mission in the history of the earth, He called fishermen. We know Peter as the apostle, but have we ever thought about Peter the fisherman?
Joseph Smith is one of my favorite examples of this. He was 14 when he received the first vision. Maybe an older and wiser person would have kept it to themselves for a while. Perhaps an older and wiser person would have recognized how the preachers would react. Perhaps Joseph, in his young and naive age, did not know the ways of men or the world. I’m not suggesting that Joseph was wrong by telling people; I’m merely pointing out the fact that he was really young.
Joseph Smith translated the entire Book of Mormon in 65 days. Completely ignoring the fact that Joseph had little education and no internet, that is a superhuman feat.
In today’s world, we see multi-million dollar companies paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to recruit the best talent. Despite the resources and incredible talent within some of these companies, we still occasionally see them fall. There is a concept in the business world known as competitive pay. Essentially, this means that you’re going to offer a good enough salary to attract people who know what they’re doing. If you’re looking for a construction manager, you research to see what most people are paying good construction managers and you match or exceed it if you want the best of the best.
Nope. Not Heavenly Father. While the world is looking for the skilled and impressive, the Lord chooses the weak things of the world. Then He uses His incomparable power to do His work.
What does this mean for you?
It means that He can use you. You have to be willing. Sister Wendy Nelson put it this way.
“My dear friends, premortally you and I were each given wonderful missions to fulfill while we are here on earth.
We have opportunities to fulfill our mortal missions, but we don’t have to. No one will make us. We have our agency to choose how we spend our time and energy, our talents and resources. In fact, what we choose to do is actually part of our testing.
The choice is yours and mine. Will we choose to do whatever it takes to fulfill the wonderful missions for which we were sent to earth?”
You do have a life mission, and Heavenly Father does expect you to figure out what it is. That is true doctrine. We will be expected to give an accounting for the promises we made in the premortal life regardless of whether we ever actually took the time to figure out what those promises were. Heavenly Father is going to ask you about it so it’s probably a good idea to figure out what it is.
Let me tell you a little something about your life mission and how you are likely to find it.
It is not often that the Lord gives us the end from the beginning. When President Nelson learned Chinese, he was probably mostly unaware of how the Lord would use this through him.
If you do not regularly invite the Spirit into your life through true prayer and true study of the scriptures, it is not likely that you will be able to close out this post, pull out your patriarchal blessing, and find your life mission. The Lord will not likely give you a road map ahead of time. The Lord will give you promptings, but He’s not going to often show you why.
As I read the book, “Saints,” I was amazed at how often the Saints found themselves in dire situations, praying fervently for help and guidance, and had to wait patiently even though it seemed like circumstances needed to be solved immediately.
As you begin to invite the Spirit into your life more fully, as you learn to hear Him, He will give you small steps. These small steps are going to require sacrifice. You will find yourself devoting time and energy you didn’t think you had, but before long, you’ll receive affirmation after affirmation that you’re doing exactly what you should be doing. There will be moments where you feel unqualified and the truth is, you are unqualified. But it doesn’t matter. If the Lord wanted you to part the Red Sea tomorrow, it would be done. But it’s not likely that He will ask for that. Likely, He will stretch you uncomfortably more and more. You’ll certainly notice the discomfort, but it will take time to see the growth and the path He has started to lead you on.
The Lord chooses weak things. He chooses the unqualified, the weary and broken, the unimpressive. We are only the vessels. You made promises to accomplish tasks on this earth, and you will be largely unable to do so through your own power. But even the most qualified people on the planet would be failures in comparison to what the Lord can accomplish through His own power. When we know we’re weak, and we know we’re unqualified, there is a much smaller struggle with the Lord over who is accomplishing the work. He will be able to do it because we can’t.