Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Invitations



Kelsey and I got to talking about invitations today.  We talked about the many offers you have extended to you in life.  Some are in the form of an invitation to go on a blind date, try something new, could be an invitation to read a book, or an invitation offered by God in the scriptures.  There are many many many more.  We got to talking about how people respond to the invitations offered them.  

As we talked I immediately identified at least 5 major offers or invitations that were presented to me that have significantly changed the course of life.  A great deal of life deals with our response to life's invitations. Sometimes we choose between two good things, sometimes we choose between a rock and a hard place.  But the kind of offers that most intrigue me are those times when we either accept or reject something, or turn down an invitation without any thought or consideration. I think this is directly related to our humility.  The humble are willing to accept things that the proud simply will not accept.  Of all traits in scripture humility can profoundly affect each day of life.  

I'm thinking about the offers the Gospel extends.  They are profound, deep, and life altering.  Many of them literally life saving.  They deal with our salvation.  Scriptures prophesy that many will reject what God offers (Mormon 8:31, 2Nephi 28:8), or be mislead to think they are just fine without them (2 Nephi 28:21).  Others will accept part of what God offers, and still others albeit a few will accept all of what God offers (3 Nephi 14:14).  I think I've known early on that I would not be satisfied being in any other category than the last one.  I've tried to live my life in such a way so as to be consistent with that.  I think it's very very important to recognize when we are presented with the offer to learn something, accept something that is contrary to what we would normally think and feel, or to simply participate in something that our initial reaction would have labeled or judged as not worth our time or effort.

There have been many many things offered to all of us.  Think for a moment of all the offers life has made you, whether direct or indirect.  We can all identify people who reject things offered to them.  As I look at the trend of their life there is a noticeable difference between that attitude, and one who is willing to humbly consider each offer.  I admire those who at least try things out and make a determination for themselves if an idea, the teaching, the viewpoint, or the body of knowledge, had any truth to it.  I find I enjoy the company of folks who are this way.  I hope to always be open to truth from whatever source.

I looked back on the past few years of my life today and was happy to find few instances of regret. It's been difficult to accept new things, many of which challenge my beliefs, and challenge me personally to become something much better. I've noticed by and large people have a hard time being confronted with anything that makes them uncomfortable, or challenges them, or upsets their traditional way of thinking.  I include my self in this category.  The most common thought is "I don't need that", or "he or she needs that, not me".  The thought is usually a faulty conclusion to a very short mental process that weighed information before even gathering the facts.

Avoiding or rejecting what is unfamiliar or challenging may work for some, but I think there is a better way.  Approach life understanding that there is more to know than we can even learn here opens doors instead of closing them. The Gospel's invitations in my view deserve the most careful and prayerful consideration.  They are real, in spite of what anyone else around us does or doesn't do.

I thought the below was a great little story that relates to this topic.

"Once upon a time there was a man that lived by a large river.  One day he heard a radio report that the river was going to rush up and flood the town. The report said that the whole town should evacuate immediately. But the man said, "I'm religious, I pray. God loves me" and so he sat on his roof and waited for God to save him. Soon after this, the waters began to rise. A man in a rowing boat came along and he shouted. "Hey! Hey you! You up there. The town is flooding, here jump in the boat and I can take you to safety." But the man shouted back: "Oh it's ok, I don't need your help. I'm religious, I pray, God loves me. God will save me." The man in the row boat tried again to persuade him to come to safety but to no avail.

A few hours passed and a helicopter came hovering overhead. A guy with a megaphone shouted. 'Hey! You there! The town is fully flooded. Let me drop down a ladder and I will help you to safety.' But the men shouted back that he didn't need any help, he was fine the way he was.  He would wait for God to rescue him and answer his prayer. After all, he was religious, he had prayed, and he was going to wait for God to take him to safety. 

The waters kept rising and the man eventually drowned. When he got to the pearly gates he demanded an audience with God. 'Lord,' he said, where were you?  'I'm a religious man, I lived a good life, I prayed and I thought you loved me. Why did this happen?'  How could you not intervene?  Why didn't you do something?  God said, 'I sent you a radio report, a helicopter, and a guy in a rowing boat. What on earth are you doing here?"

This post is about accepting what God offers us, no matter how it may look, sound, or initially appear.  Humility is always the way to go.  Humility is willing to accept and receive new things, ideas, and truths.  Pride and stubbornness can't accept, refuses to see, and won't learn.  I personally think the humble will find out that God is very involved in each of our lives.  They will find the way.

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