1 Nephi 8
I love fruit. Apples, bananas, peaches, oranges, mangos, etc. I love the sweetness of taste upon my tongue. And I like how this metaphor helps remind me of the sweetness of the Lord's word and love. The Lord's fruit is whiter than any known white, it is sweeter beyond the sweetest Georgia peach, and it is purer than any fruit we could taste. It brings peace, but mostly it brings joy.
Why would anyone not want it?
(Words and phrases)
large and spacious field (vs. 9) - A look at the guide tells us this represents the world. I also thought of it as choice (a large and spacious choice). So big that you become lost. So many choices that you don't know which will make you happy.
desirable to make one happy (vs. 10) - desire. Here it is again. It seems that is what it is all about. If we would desire the fruit of this tree, we would find happiness.
partake of the fruit (vs. 11) - I wonder if I saw a tree in the middle of a field, would my curiosity get the best of me to the point that I would partake? As I consider that this fruit is a metaphor for spiritual truth, do I partake of it daily? Do I seek to cultivate and grow this fruit so that it is within my grasp? With so many choices before us, sometimes I might have a hard time finding this fruit.
But then... it was most sweet... (Something I would not soon forget) and it was white to exceed all whiteness. The only way I couldn't see it is if I were not looking for it. Whiteness always stands out.
great joy (vs. 12) How do I feel when I help someone in need? How do I feel when I overcome a bad habit? How do I feel when someone lets me know that I have done something really good and have helped them? How do I feel when I am in the presence of goodness, when I practice reverence and respect? I feel great joy. To do these things is to partake of the fruit of the tree of life. To give service to things that bring life and goodness, and hope and help others find this both in themselves in other gifts from God, is to receive JOY.
Lehi went through all of this when he learned to listen to the prophets in Jerusalem. He felt the JOY of the truth surge through him as he partook of God's word by putting God's word to practice. He prayed. Then a pillar of fire came and he received knowledge and revelation. God's love manifest itself unto him. He knew that the JOY he felt from listening to the prophets was different from the gladness he felt when he listened to and adhered to worldly philosophy. He knew that God's love brought joy. He wanted his family to have this same kind of joy.
desirable above all other fruits (vs. 12) - What could be the most desirable fruit of all the earth? What could bring such Joy and elation to your entire being that you want not to keep it to yourself but to share it? What is white above all other whiteness? What is pure above all other pureness? What brings our families together like nothing else? What teaches us to desire only those things that will help us continue to desire goodness? What is living so that all else that touches it finds renewed life? What is rooted so deeply into the soil of goodness and love that it's fruit brings us eternal nutrition? How do we learn to desire this fruit? By partaking.
I cast my eyes round about (vs. 13) I often forget to look around and see what is about me. I think that we all need to learn to be observant (especially in our dreams) It is something that you can work on. When you dream, if you make a conscious effort to remember to be more observant in your dream, you will notice things that you didn't before. What is important here is that in looking around, Lehi shows us what is important to him, his family. He is looking for his family. While looking he noticed the filthy river of water.
they knew not whither they should go (vs. 14) I know that there are many times in my life when I just don't know where to go or what to do? When I have a plan, when I have a goal, I know what to do and where to go? I think it is important for all of us to decide whither we should go? To God? To family? To goodness? The important thing here is that if we don't make a conscious choice, we end up making a choice we may not be happy with. Lehi's family needed leadership. He recognized this and was taking his leadership from the Lord. If we take a cue from Lehi, then we realize that it is not enough to eat, sleep, drink and die. For most of us we want a source of eternal happiness and this comes through knowing that we have not only had family, but also that we have loved, taught, and guided family to find Joy.
I beckoned unto them (vs. 15) I beckon each day to my family. I beckon each day to myself. When we beckon we encourage with word and gesture. We rally in their behalf and tell them to come and enjoy all that is good and loving. We beckon with our eyes, our hearts, our words, our hands, and our voices.
We help them understand the importance of knowing God's word and of living it by not only partaking of His Word (fruit) but also through sharing it.