I’ve recently had the opportunity to teach a “teacher preparation” class at church, and although I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve also found it to be a bit stressful. Teach future teachers about how to teach? Please. It’s a little discomfiting to be the sage on stage when in my heart, I know there are others who could do a far better job. Hmmm. Maybe that’s why the Bishop asked me to do it; he wanted me to learn more, to improve my teaching skills, and to gain a better grasp of gospel principles.
That said, today the assignment was for everyone to choose a gospel topic and outline just how he or she would teach it. Would the teacher use music and lecture? Lecture with a combination of discussion, questions, and stories? How about the use of pictures and object lessons? Excitedly, I went to class only to discover that only one person of the class had come to church and hence to class. Still, we persevered, and Kathy did an excellent job of telling about King Benjamin and his comments to his people. She asked questions, directed my attention to a picture of King Benjamin in the tower, read scriptures, and generated a discussion between the two of us. She did a superlative job, and her future students are in for a treat.
On the outside chance that folks showed up unprepared, I decided to follow the homework instructions for myself. Faith was the topic I chose, and I looked it up in the Bible dictionary, read several scriptures about it, found a modern day story about it, and brought some sunflower seeds posing as mustard seeds. Kathy’s presentation was so good that I didn’t get to any of my “stuff,” but since I came across such great material, I’d like to share some food for thought.
I could write about Christ’s remark to the frightened disciples about their being of little faith or of his statement to the woman who had touched his robe: “Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” There are dozens of such stories. What grabbed me most, however, is a statement by Talmadge in Jesus the Christ: “Faith is of itself a principle of power; and by its presence or absence, by its fullness or paucity, even the Lord was and is influenced.” Isn’t that potent?
Is there something you want or need? Is there something you’ve been praying for, something that you’d like to have happen in your life? Are you fervently praying for it AND doing the things that would make that dream more of a reality? If so, do you truly believe that your Heavenly Father will help you find that job, complete that course, sell that house, heal your loved one, ease your pain, or give you confidence?
Active faith must take the place of passive belief on the part of would-be recipients if we are to receive our Father’s richest blessings. It’s foolish to say something like, “I have faith that I’m going to do well in the course,” and then watch football all afternoon instead of studying. It’s crazy to have faith that God is going to heal you from an infirmity if you fail to seek or follow medical advice. It’s foolhardy to pray that your children will stay on the straight and narrow if you’re serving as a sorry example of what that means. It’s senseless to ask your Creator to help you handle stress when you continue saying, “Yes,” to every request made of you even when you know you’re already overscheduled and overburdened.
I just remembered a quote by Joan of Arc that fits perfectly here at the end: “Act, and God will act.” If you don’t act, why should you expect Him to?
2 thoughts on “Principle of Power”
One of my most favorite scriptures is Luke 6:46 which reads: And why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
It certainly goes along with the principle of action as a demonstration of faith. I am becoming more convinced that the church in general is suffering from a lack of committed action to the gospel. Many fail to do those critically basic things like home and visiting teaching, family home evening, scripture study, and prayer, that will provide the impetus (or as you posted above influence) for the Lord to act positively in our lives.
Here in the South, I often hear the phrase "cafeteria Mormons" when referring to those who pick and choose which commandments they will follow. Maybe we're all a little like that...I don't know. I do know that if want things to happen, you have to have faith, believe, and roll up your shirtsleeves and go to work. Indeed, what hope or even right to hope do we have if we refuse to do even the fundamental and simple actions that demonstrate our faith? If we spend our lives insisting that we can handle things on our own, I'm sure that the Lord will allow us that in turn.
Hey Jayne, thanks for a timely post! and I love dave’s comment above! I think my second word for the year will be committment. I have been so tired and ill that I have let church attendance and scripture study slip away somewhat…it is very unlike me to miss church unless I am really sick with something contagious! I guess it is like any habit…you miss one time and it is easier to skip something the next time. I was tired yesterday, took my church clothes off and rested. Usually I talk myself out the door.
I loved Dave's comment too. I had to look up the scripture that he mentioned and the ones surrounding it. It just occurred to me that believe and commitment go hand-in-hand. How committed can a person be to something if he or she doesn't believe that she can really bring it to pass? Have you ever seen Kung Fu Panda? We kept DH's granddaughters Friday night, and they watched it and munched on popcorn. I had seen it with my grans earlier and had forgotten one of the themes: BELIEVE. It's a cute movie.
P.S. I left you a voice mail Monday.