Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Things of Worth
1 Nephi 6
There are many things which can occupy our time. I quickly learned as a young mother that choices are not always between good and bad. Often they might be between good and good, and it is about time management or evaluating what our personal needs are.
In school my favorite psychologist was Maslow. He has this hierarchy of needs chart. In this chart he explains that you cannot obtain self-actualization if you are constantly striving to find food, or shelter.
I like this chart because it helps us decide what our things of worth are. Each one of us holds a different place on this chart. And it may change often depending upon how our circumstances change.
Using this as I read and consider Nephi's words changes my perspective.
Words and Phrase
genealogy of my fathers (vs 1) - Nephi mentions that this will be written. Genealogy is important! It connects us. It gives us patterns and traditions. It answers the question of Who we are? I noticed that they are successfully cloning animals for farming now, and to bring back nearly extinct animals. I wonder if they cloned humans how they would justify it through genealogy? How it would change man's sense of identity and connection to one another?
descendants of Joseph (vs2) - This great prophet finds place in (these brass plates) many times. He carries a great stigma of faith and obedience for the children of Israel. Here in is one reason why the genealogy of our fathers is so important. When we think of our fathers (Joseph) we are reminded of the good and great things they did. The stories in the Bible tell of Israels success and defeats.
room to write the things of God (vs 3) - With all the many stories that the genealogy of our fathers brings us, Nephi chooses to pick through them and find the ones that represent "the things of God". Obviously there were many "things of my father" that Nephi could have shared. Humorous stories, valuable lessons on architecture (they build a boat), farming (they carried seeds) etc., but he choose to edit through all of these and write only the "things of worth."
I believe there is a great lesson here. Once we find our purpose and discover the path we will take in this life, I think we can learn to sift through what is most valuable.
the things which are pleasing unto God (vs 5) - Considering Maslow's chart, what things fall into that which might be pleasing unto God? Once our safety and physiological needs are met, I see how God gives us hope and a sense of belonging. Believing in God gives us a spiritual place as well as a affection and acceptance from others who practice God's teachings.
As we believe in God, His teachings and His example give us a path to follow wherein we can gain self-esteem. Once we believe in ourself then we can move on into an eternal circle of gaining aesthetic and cognitive knowledge.
the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write - Again when I consider my needs... (maslow) and recognize that anything that does not meet these needs gets in the way, I see how opposition can often convince us that we need what they want to sell us.
I.E. We need to be thin? we need to look like the magazine model? we need to eat a particular product so that we can fit in? We need to wear a particular item of clothing so that others will admire us? We need we need.. Next time you watch the adds on the television pay attention. I have noticed how they always make us believe we need something.
If nothing else these things which are pleasing to the world serve to confuse the issue.
Think of people who live in their car (here in the south it is common) rather than pay a house mortgage. Or who get confused about alcohol and drugs and forget they need to eat food.
The things which are of worth? (vs6)
So what is of worth to me. If I take a barometer up to everything that I do this day, can I justify it's worth to God? Can I say that it meets my hierarch of needs? Or does it fall into the category as the things of this world? How do I separate the two? I use Maslow? I wonder how others might separate the two? I recognize that not everyone adheres to Maslow's ideas. There are many different focus's of thought with regards to our needs.
I am very grateful that Nephi sorted through the stories of his father Lehi and chose to tell the ones of greatest worth, the ones that would bring us closer to God's truth. It was so important to him that he actually commanded all of his family to write only the things which were important and of value to the children of men. In doing so, he was emphasizing the need for all of us to learn what these things might be, but to also learn to sort through them each day of our lives.