In my daily scripture study, I encountered a hopeful gem the other day. I’ve read it a dozen times I’m sure, but it really stuck in my mind this time both as a measure of hope for what I’m trying to become and a reminder that there is still plenty of things that need to change.
Alma 3:7–For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey.
The hope comes from the fact that I, and many of us, are generally good people. Not perfect, to be sure, but good. We do our best to live our lives as we feel they should be lived. My dad was always fond of pointing out when we were small children that we were living largely Celestial lives.
I think I finally see what he was saying. When he’d say that when I was younger, I had a very hard time truly believing him. After all, he didn’t know what went through my head or what I had done or how I have lived. What he did recognize, however, is that my general listing as person was towards Christ and living a good life.
At the same time, I recognize aspects of my life where I list another way. We live this way because of fear, addiction, habit, ignorance, or a host of other reasons. This scripture provides that warning that our desires still have a real affect on our ability to live close to the Savior and feel that Spirit. However, it’s equally important to note that the relative simplicity of changing our listing is, as Elder Holland once said, as simple as “deciding to make a change and meaning it.”
These last few weeks, as I’ve watched simple changes in my own life and in the life of some dear friends, I’ve been reminded again and again that the way to Eternal Life is so incredibly simple and so very easy. We bog ourselves down with the complexities of the world and the feelings of fear, but I’ve witnessed the personal and deeply intimate love that our Savior has for us all.
My mind drifts quite frequently to the Ninety and Nine and the Good Shepherd seeking that which is lost. Lately, I’ve pondered the viciousness of the storms that separate the one and the deep compassion that drives the Shepherd in His search. Particularly, I’ve pondered the richness of those peaceful arms, the quiet folds of the warm robe, and the strength of each step home.
While we spend so much time thinking of the search Shepherd, we should spend an equal time thinking of the successful Shepherd. The Shepherd who literally carries the one back to the fold. As we repent and change our own listings, we will do so from the safety and strength of Eternal Hands with the guidance of His eternal eyes.