So…I feel like today’s subject really relates to what we have been studying the past few days (envieth not and is not puffed up), but it is valuable to study each of them in a different light. Today’s study has been no less valuable.
Charity seeketh not her own. In other words, charity is not selfish. I feel like it is probably more than that, too. Charity seeks for others. When pondering this subject, the first thing I thought of was the following scripture:
“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” – Matthew 10:39
Not only does charity not seek her own, but there is a great reward in seeking the Lord’s way – When we seek the Lord, we will find ourselves. It seems counterintuitive, but it is true.
This is especially obvious when you compare the stories of Cain and Nephi.
- Cain loved Satan more. (Moses 5:18)
- Cain was offended when God didn’t respect his offering. (Moses 5:21)
- Cain is loved enough by God to be warned. (Moses 5:23-25)
- Cain was angry at his warning, and didn’t listen to the Lord. (Moses 5:26)
- Cain makes an oath with Satan – secret combination. (Moses 5:29-30)
- Cain is motivated by power. (Moses 5:31)
- Cain kills Abel. (Moses 5:32)
- After Cain kills Abel, he thinks that he is free.
“And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands.” – Moses 5:33
I think that this response is really telling. Cain thinks that he can gain freedom through hurting others. He is seeking his own welfare, power, and glory. He is so overly concerned with himself that he is even willing murder. His selfishness destroys him and any sense of decency that he may have had.
- Cain lies to God and asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper.” (Moses 5:34) – This seems to be a peak in his selfishness. I can’t even comment on it – other than Wow…Yet…I can’t act like I’m all that much better. I need to learn what not to do from Cain. In some ways, there are times when I essentially ask, “Am I my brother’s keeper.” I think that this happens when I’m not looking out for what is good for others. When I’m only looking out for myself, then I’m not being my brother’s keeper. It is tempting to do this.
As I ponder what this means, I realize that it doesn’t mean that I do every single thing for others. This is impossible and impractical. It is not good for me and it doesn’t really help others. If I’m being my brother’s keeper, then I will be praying often – to the Lord – and looking outward. I would serve. And I would be interested in the lives of my brothers and sisters. We can learn a lot from Cain.
- Cain is cursed. He doesn’t inherit Abel’s fields. Instead, he becomes a fugitive and a vagabond, unable to yield from the earth. (Moses 5:35-38)
In the example of Cain, we see the truth in the Lord’s declaration that “He that findeth his life shall lose it;.” Because Cain went about looking for his life through shortcuts and sin, he eventually lost it. It’s funny that when we are “seeking our own” that is the last thing we’ll ever find.
Luckily, we have a good example, too. (There are a lot of them, actually).
(see Helaman 10:4-5)
- Nephi is blessed.
- Nephi, with unwearyingness declared the word. (I get tired just by reading the word unwearyingness!)
- Nephi didn’t fear others.
- Nephi didn’t seek his own life.
- Nephi sought the will of God. – This is hard! In the end, we see that it is the best thing to do, but we don’t experience that kind of satisfaction, really, until the end! In the meantime, seeking the will of God is kind of hard. We have to forgo natural desires and the reasoning of the world. We have to exercise faith. Yet, seeking God’s doesn’t seem all that hard when we actually do it. He blesses us all along the way. He comforts us and strengthens us to keep the commandments. We just have to seek Him and not our own.
- Nephi strove to keep God’s commandments.
- Nephi will be blessed forever.
- Nephi is made mighty in word and deed.
- Nephi is given God’s power – to do anything. God knows that Nephi won’t ask anything contrary to God’s will. God completely trusts Nephi. – I think that this is basically one of the awesomest things ever. God loves us enough to endow us with His power. But he won’t give it to us if we aren’t ready for it. He is a perfect parent. I can understand him, too. I mean, I am a parent, and I would like to see my children be able to do all that I do – if not more. However, I know that I won’t give them many freedoms or blessings until they are ready for them. This isn’t because I’m power-hungry. It is because I don’t want them to hurt themselves.
Heavenly Father is the same way. When we have been trained correctly, we will be able to have power like His. Just as Nephi did. Elijah also had this power – the sealing power. Nephi gave up his life and will to the Lord, and eventually foudn it.
Charity seeketh not her own. When we try to do things our own way, we will come up with hardship and failure. However, if we put our trust in the Lord, and seek His will, then He sustains us with His power and we are able to obtain charity. It is powerful to know that Charity never fails. And it is even more remarkable to see that God’s power is completely rooted in Charity: selflessness, and love.
I want to seek God’s will. I’m trying to be better at this. Currently, I’m actively praying to do His will, even though I don’t always follow through on it. I’m still pretty selfish. I have a lot of room for improvement, but I want to be selfless one day. I look up to examples like President Monson. I know that through prayer and practice, I can one day be a person who isn’t just looking out for myself. I really want that for my life.
What do you do to seek God’s will and increase in Charity?