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Highlights for Moroni 10
What a year and what a book! I completely love what the Book of Mormon inspired in me this past year. I think plenty of us would agree, the Book of Mormon and 2020 were made for each other. This is also the year my gratitude for a real-time prophet made a few leaps upward. As I talk to others and read comments left on social media – it seems the same experience resonated for many of us. 2020 was a challenging time, yet it prompted us to contemplate priorities and hit the reset button. It’s been a year of personal growth, for sure.
And you know what…looking back with hindsight – I love 2020. Well, at least now that it’s almost over, I do. Because of its impact, I am in a better, stronger place.
As we celebrate Christmas, our eyes are primarily on the Savior. Rightfully so. His birth, teachings, and enormous gifts of atonement and resurrection are the foundation of our religion and spirituality. They’re at the core of the plan of salvation and why we are even here to experience life on earth. So it may surprise you I choose to write about some of the other gifts under the Savior’s “tree.”
Moroni’s List of Gifts
Last week’s article explored what the Spirit of Christ means. To quickly recap, the Spirit of Christ is the essence of truth, light, and the life force itself – which quickens the inner man. Moroni, chapter 10 is rich with gospel teaching, and we learn more of what the Spirit of Christ does for us.
But first, you may have heard the phrase, he or she is “gifted” when referring to someone’s talents or above-average abilities, like maybe playing the piano? Would it surprise you that the idea their talents are gifted to them is a gospel teaching? Moroni explained how the Spirit of Christ gifts us with abilities, talents, and capacities.
Let me add two more verses from Moroni 10 which identify Christ as the source and round out this wonderful doctrine:
17 And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.
18 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.
Moroni says there are many gifts and then lists a few, like healing and wisdom; the apostle, Marvin J. Ashton lists about 20 more in his iconic General Conference talk, There Are Many Gifts.
My own daughter Shannon left this comment on a FB post yesterday:
“When I studied gifts of the Spirit, I realized it was a lot like counting blessings. A comprehensive list of the possibilities just seems too long to make.”
When we deeply contemplate the meaning woven throughout Moroni’s verses, we realize the wide variety of talents and skills (both spiritual and temporal) that we have discovered and developed aren’t truly ours. That might sound funny to say. Yet, even though we have been great stewards and strengthened those abilities and talents, the original aptitude and reflexes to develop them in the first place are a gift. We didn’t create those capacities; God did. And he gave them to each of us to revitalize our days and share with those around us.
One of Life’s Happy Secrets
So, let’s talk about one of life’s happy secrets. Remember the parable of the talents from Matthew, chapter 25, and how upset the Lord was when one servant buried his talent? There’s an important, personal message meant for you in that parable. No talent gifted us by the Spirit of Christ is intended to be tucked away. It is designed to be used, developed, multiplied, and given to others.
What is your talent, passion, and calling in life that brings you enjoyment and satisfaction? Something you’re able to create or bring to pass. Creating is part of our divine nature, by the way. So maybe, contemplate what comes to your mind? What do you love to do? It could be any number of pastimes: some form of art or handiwork, the written word, music, mechanics, communication, fixing things, gardening, athletics, service, spiritual pursuits, and many more projects I don’t list.
Even though it’s a God-given knack you have, there’s a good chance you don’t spend much time with it because it’s easy for life to push such things to the back burner. And so, sadly, you don’t do it too often.
We live in a world of hurried, stressed, unhappy people. One of the surest, quickest ways to noticeably increase your overall happiness and quality of life is to give your gift some attention every day. This means some of you will need to open some boxes or dust something off and bring it back into commission. Once you’ve identified what that activity is, find a permanent 30 mins. slot for it every day. And yes, you have 30 mins. Just cutting out a couple of time-wasters, or deleting a video game or two, or rearranging your schedule a bit will produce those 30 mins.
Let it become one of the things you make happen daily, and rearrange your thinking, so lesser concerns occupy the back burner instead. For example, prioritize the 30 minutes before the laundry. The rejuvenation, the light, the life that will flow through you will enliven your days and, in turn, gift the world and glorify God. And what more, even greater joy comes when you use your gift on behalf of others.
Practical Tips for Making Time
As far as making time, here’s a practical tip. I have found setting a specific time every day by the clock like “at 7 pm I’ll do such and such” – invites frequent sabotage. Maybe try this instead; every day, you do things without thinking about it, like get up, take a lunch break, drive to work, go to bed. Attach your quality time to something like that and make it a routine. Then you won’t have to think about it, set alarms, or keep goal charts.
For example, I have this excellent, famous psychology book I’m reading called the Skilled Helper. Instead of a set time, my system is: before I get out of bed, read this book for at least 10 mins. That doesn’t sound like much, but I get a lot of books finished this way. Of course, you can spend more time reading when you have more time.
Here’s another idea for finding the extra time. Every ten years, I make it a point to read the Old Testament from cover to cover. The last time was 2018, so I’m not due for another eight years. As a mom of six kids, I found myself with lots of “hurry up and wait” moments. Like waiting in the lobby at doctor, dental or orthodontist appointments, waiting in the car to pick kids up at school, or some other event. I decided I would read the Old Testament on my phone whenever I was stuck somewhere, waiting. I was able to read the Old Testament in a year and a half, purely in my idle moments. As a side note, the Old Testament has more words than all the other standard works together, including the Pearl of Great Price. It worked because I had a system, rather than a schedule chart which, you know, six kids would easily blow up.
Christ loves us, and even though this mortal journey is hard, it is also designed to bring us joy. You have the capacity for gifts and happiness built in you. May you search them out and bring them to life for the year 2021.