Friday, May 4, 2012

Be as a Little Child

I thought I would share my talk from this past Sunday.  Enjoy!

Good morning Brothers and Sisters. I have been asked this morning to talk about becoming as a little child. Every time I hear that phrase “Become as a child” it makes me laugh just a bit because I think of what it would be like if I did what my children do. Like start crying when I don’t get my way. Never ever share my stuff. Constantly tell on the people around me. Fighting over who gets to go first. And so on. I mean we all know what little kids are like. But of course that phase isn’t referring to THAT part of childhood, but rather to all of the best things about it.

In Mosiah 3:19 we learn that we should become as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon us.

What does it mean to be meek? Meek has many definitions, but one that I would like to focus on is enduring without resentment. If there is one thing that I know for sure it is that little children do not hold on to resentments. They can be angry at one another one moment, and then 30 seconds later they have forgiven the offender and then are the best of friends again. That forgiving nature is most assuredly something that I wish to emulate.

President Hinckley shared these thoughts about forgiveness. He said:

Are not the words of Abraham Lincoln beautiful which he spoke out of the tragedy of a terrible civil war: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, … let us … bind up the … wounds.” (In John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1968, p. 640.)

My brothers and sisters, let us bind up the wounds—oh, the many wounds that have been caused by cutting words, by stubbornly cultivated grievances, by scheming plans to “get even” with those who may have wronged us. We all have a little of this spirit of revenge in us. Fortunately, we all have the power to rise above it, if we will “clothe [ourselves] with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.” (D&C 88:125.)

“To err is human, to forgive divine.” (Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 2:1711.) There is no peace in reflecting on the pain of old wounds. There is peace only in repentance and forgiveness. This is the sweet peace of the Christ, who said, “blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

And that is our goal – to truly be children of God.

To be a little child, we should also be humble. In the Doctrine and Covenants section 112 verse 10, we read: Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give the answer to thy prayers. Reading that scripture it is very easy to turn one’s mind to the image of a child trustingly putting their hand into that of their parent to lead them and guide them and help them in every way possible. It is what we must do with our Father in Heaven. We must reach out our hand and place it into His, to trustingly give over our lives to Him.

President Eyring shares this experience of becoming as a little child:

Once, I prayed through the night to know what I was to choose to do in the morning. I knew that no other choice could have had a greater effect on the lives of others and on my own. I knew what choice looked most comfortable to me. I knew what outcome I wanted. But I could not see the future. I could not see which choice would lead to which outcome. So the risk of being wrong seemed too great to me.

I prayed, but for hours there seemed to be no answer. Just before dawn, a feeling came over me. More than at any time since I had been a child, I felt like one. My heart and my mind seemed to grow very quiet. There was a peace in that inner stillness.

Somewhat to my surprise, I found myself praying, “Heavenly Father, it doesn’t matter what I want. I don’t care anymore what I want. I only want that Thy will be done. That is all that I want. Please tell me what to do.”

In that moment I felt as quiet inside as I had ever felt. And the message came, and I was sure who it was from. It was clear what I was to do. I received no promise of the outcome. There was only the assurance that I was a child who had been told what path led to whatever He wanted for me.

To become as a child, we must also learn to be full of love. I love that trait about my children. I love that they with such openness love will all their hearts. To be loved by a child is definitely an experience that everyone should enjoy.

It is such a blessing to see life sometimes through a child’s eyes. I recorded a few thoughts about my children a couple of years ago. I wrote:

We are so often told to become as a little child. I think one of those reasons is a child’s ability to be in awe of the simplest things. One of the things that I love most about Dallin is that he is such a deep thinker. He finds a reason for everything. For him, everything needs an explanation. And if one is not readily available, he makes up his own. He told me the other day that the reason we have families is so that everyone can have someone to take care of them. Everything is on a grander scale to him. He doesn’t just draw pictures. He creates a masterpiece. Everything has purpose. His faith in people and in God is sure and unquestioned. I want to become not like just any child, but very much like him. And like very much Mandy with her sincere desire to love and let everyone know that they are loved by her. And like Layton with his smile that makes everyone around him a little happier when they see it. I think that maybe the reason we have families is so that parents can learn to become as a little child.

My children teach me daily. And I am so grateful for them.

The last part of that scripture in Mosiah that I would like to talk about is being willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon us.

It can be so difficult to see how the trials that we go through now will affect our eternal progression. Life sometimes is so hard, that we are blinded to what we have to do. It can sometimes feel almost impossible to lift up our hearts and be of good cheer. But that is part of what being willing to submit to all things is about. Elder Neal. A. Maxwell said:

To be cheerful when others are in despair, to keep the faith when others falter, to be true even when we feel forsaken—all of these are deeply desired outcomes during the deliberate, divine tutorials which God gives to us—because He loves us. (See Mosiah 3:19.) These learning experiences must not be misread as divine indifference. Instead, such tutorials are a part of the divine unfolding.

We do not know why we must suffer through certain trials, but we do know that there is purpose in all things and that all things are for our good.

It is by becoming as a little child that we truly become followers of Jesus Christ. President Eyring said that to be like a child is not to be childish. It is to be like the Savior, who prayed to His Father for strength to be able to do His will and then did it.

President Eyring goes on to say:

The things we do are the means, not the end we seek. What we do allows the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change us into what we must be. Our faith in Jesus Christ brings us to repentance and to keeping His commandments. We obey and we resist temptation by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. In time our natures will change. We will become as a little child, obedient to God and more loving. That change, if we do all we must to keep it, will qualify us to enjoy the gifts which come through the Holy Ghost. Then we will be safe on the only sure rock, even Jesus Christ.

I would like to close by sharing the words to one of my favorite primary song.

Jesus Once Was a Little Child

A little child like me

And he was pure and meek and mild,

As a little child should be.

He played as little children play

The pleasant games of youth

But he never got vexed if the game went wrong

And he always spoke the truth.

So, little children, Let’s you and I

Try to be like him, Try, Try, Try.

May we all try to become as child, even a Child of God and like our Savior Jesus Christ.


Becky Shuler said...

I wish I could have heard you. What a wonderful talk! I also wish I could become as a little child. See you guys soon? Mema

minnieshuler said...

I enjoyed your talk....I may just be childish. Hmm...but I try.