Sunday, April 17

Hunger, Thirst, and Other Needs

The lesson in Sunday School was about the Good Samaritan. The teacher was well-prepared, engaging, and able to easily accommodate the classroom, even full to capacity. The lesson progressed as she guided us through the scriptures, interjecting her thoughts and creating an environment of trust.

But, to me, the classroom felt like a prison cell. I felt anxious, frustrated, and almost hungry. And I had no idea why.

The background was factually accurate. The meaning behind each motif in the parable was compelling. Even the final conclusion was dramatic, different from the normal interpretation, and obviously something she had learned only through personal study and preparation. But inside I chafed... and I found myself wondering why I felt so uncomfortable.

Then, as she spoke about her personal experience preparing for the lesson, she said something that caught my attention. She said that she had prayed for greater understanding... and that the Lord had answered her... and that she had finally "got it." And I realized why.

The greatest obstacle that lies before me in understanding greater truths of the gospel... is my belief in my own understanding.

I look at the parable of the Good Samaritan, the story of the woman with an issue of blood, the healings and the miracles of Christ... And the greatest mistake I can make is to believe that I know "why" He did what He did, "why" He taught what He taught, "why" He said what He said... The greatest mistake is to believe that I "get" the gospel... because when I "get" it, I don't bother to ask Him for more.

It's even worse when I haven't even had that experience for myself, but am just going off of someone else's experience. Feasting on the words of Christ does not mean attending a class or opening a commentary and reading about the spiritual experiences of someone else. It does not mean reading a blog about someone's experiences... no matter how fulfilling in whatever situation it may seem to watch someone else feast. Feasting on the words of Christ is a personal endeavor.

But even if I feast, and find a deeper level through personal experience, it's still far too easy to rejoice in having finally "understood it" ... and when I have that experience again, or read the same passage, I already get it... and again I don't ask. I feasted once on the words of Christ. But each subsequent time I pull leftovers out of the fridge and remember how great it once tasted, contenting myself with the memory of food. And I starve.

The great secret to understanding and applying the teachings of Christ - to being able to truly feast on them over and over again - is realizing that I will never, ever, ever truly "get them" or understand their beauty and magnificence... only grow closer with each passing day. Each time I better understand a principle, I am a step closer to God... but the steps are infinite... and I will always be learning. I will never truly understand the law of tithing. Never understand the word of wisdom. Never understand the law of chastity...

I will only be able to grow in that understanding... and I can only grow when I want more. That is the difference between exaltation and salvation. The saved do what is needed. The exalted hunger and thirst for more. They keep climbing, even when they have everything they could dream of.

I looked around at my classroom, and it no longer felt like a prison cell. Yes, the teacher was still telling us of the feast she had experienced... without giving us all the tools and time to have that same experience there. But the Lord is the true Teacher, and He will teach me no matter where I am or what is happening... if I'm willing to listen. I had come to eat and be filled, and the Lord helped me remember and re-learn a principle I needed to know. It was a good experience. Did I finally "get it"? No. I have a long, long ways to go. And lots of learning and steps in between. But I'm closer, and next time He'll teach me something else.


  1. Wow. Just, wow. I so needed to read this today. You nailed it. Thanks for putting into words what my heart knew.

  2. It is so cool, how in the church, we get the same lesson, no matter where we live... all over the US... all over the world. And I love to notice how people all over the world are learning many of the same things - both through the lesson, as well as through the workings of the Spirit.

    *Because of this, I love reviewing Sunday-school each week by reading your Sunday blog post. :) Thanks. :D

    PS Isn't it GREAT to experience the learning that comes from STUDY and intent to learn... rather than just casually listening? Have a great week! :D


Comment Rules:

(G)MG is how I write to you. Commenting is one way to write to me.

If you want your comment published: No swearing, graphic content, name-calling of any kind, or outbound links to anything but official Church sites.

In addition, comments must be 100% relevant, funny, uplifting, helpful, friendly... well-written, concise, and true. Disparaging comments often don't meet those standards. Comments on (G)MG are personal notes to me, not part of a comment war. You are not entitled to have your ideas hosted on my personal blog. There are a zillion places for that, and only one (G)MG.

And I'd suggest writing your comment in Word and pasting it. That way Blogger won't eat it if it's over the word limit.