“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

all things are become slippery (Helaman 13: 31-39)

What do you hold precious?
What would change your world if "on the morrow it was gone?"

The house appeared dark as if no one was home. But we were home. We were living in the basement of our large brick Tudor while the kitchen was being remodeled. So when we arrived home that evening we all slid down the basement stairways to find food. The fall air had combined with the dusk to give us a chill. The aroma of the crock pot dinner danced around the table.

"What was that noise?" My oldest daughter asked as we gathered around for dinner.
"Probably just the wind blowing through the breezeway."

A loud bang caused me to follow the noise up and out of the basement to investigate. I swung open the screen door and saw him. A young teenage male scrambled onto my son's bike. He never looked back as he sped down the long driveway and up the street. I chased after him, but it was to no avail. My neighbor saw me chasing him and came out to help. She was able to help fill in details for the police report.

She had seen him perusing our street, walking very brazenly through the yards and taking great risks. The bikes were parked out of sight within the breezeway walk path, far from the obvious eye. I was amazed at his ability to steal the bike while we were less than ten feet away.
This was a difficult lesson on the reality of theft, and my lacrosse-son was devastated. Even though the bike was registered with the police and the police had a description of it, it was not to be found.

I wondered about the risks that people will take to take the things of others. I wondered about what they value most in life? The security that things bring or the security from living with trust and faith in others? I had to realize that "it" was just a bike. We were all safe and together. We were unharmed. This time the intruder had merely taken a set of wheels, but what if he had wanted more?

Helaman's verses seem so straightforward and maybe they are, but as I read them I was surprised to find a true significance to today's world. When we begin to value our riches more than we value our relationships with one another then we allow our riches to curse us.

We live in a world where not only the material possessions we own can become slippery and grow legs, but many of the other things that we call riches can easily slip away. I am speaking of our nation's dependency on electricity. Many of our riches are tied up in our dependency on electricity.

One hundred years ago our nation, our community, our families were not so dependent on electricity. Today the lives we live would be totally crippled without it. In terms of our "riches" today with a growing technological infrastructure "nearly 15 percent of all US commerce goes through PayPal." (www.wired.com) The business world already uses ebanking, ecommerceand Emoney to conduct transactions. Paper money is not needed. The community that relied on paper money, on relationships that secured the value of the paper money are becoming slippery and fading away.

Why? Because the allure of technology, the ease, the comfort found within our homes. The paperless trail sounds great. Easy. Effortless. Safe, Secure.
Think Again. What happens if the electricity goes out? What happens if a disaster occurs? The people of that endured the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will tell you it was not easy, safe, or secure for them. Without electricity, many of these people were "non-identifiable". Not only were they unable to prove their identity, but the possibility of their identity being stolen or used became a very real possibility. Their paper identity had been washed away. But so had their electronic identity. And sadly because we rely so much on electronic communication their sense of community that allowed them to link with others and find comfort and security in the human race had long ago slipped away.

Our nation has become dependent upon electrical power. We could not travel, do business, or conduct ourselves civilly without it. Think what would happen if all of the electricity in American went down? No money. no gas. no heat or air. no food. no identity. We are all totally dependent upon it. NO computer. no files. no bank transactions. No community.

Now think back to a simpler time when we didn't need electricity to get food. We needed only to have a community of friends and neighbors. We built relationships with our neighbors so that if an emergency occurred we would be able to rely on them. We entertained our friends. We played games together and laughed with one another. We built business relationships with the grocery-man, banker, the gas station attendant, and the pharmacist.

I remember when the the 1976 gas crises occurred and all the gas stations had to ration gas. My mother was able to sit in a long line and get gas for her car because she was a regular customer. The owner knew his customers and rewarded them for their patronage. There was a sense of community that allowed him to honor those who had respected his business.

Today's electronic advancement has eroded the sense of community that America once knew and loved. I dare say that many of today's generation would not know how to have a social life without "electricity" in their lives. We still come together for school, for work, for church, but all of these community lives have been infiltrated with electronics to the point that people would rather email you and see you face to face. Why? "It saves them time." Time for what?
Eternity is a long time to live with the love of riches in your heart.

Before you write this idea off, read through the verses with the mindset of what might happen to our society if our electrical infrastructure failed. How would you get your money from the bank? You wouldn't? How would having a good relationship with the teller "behind the glass" change things in a crises?

All things are given to us for our good. God loves us. He just wants us to love him (and his children) more than we love our "riches". Our materialist world has gotten out of control just as it did in Samuel the Lamanite's day.

Words and Phrases

31 they become slippery - In Samuel's time I am certain he was referring to robbery, theft, deceit. In our day, slippery could relate to computers, info file glitches, etc. Have you ever had a computer crash and take all of your information with it? Have you ever had a file on your computer go missing? Electronic riches will prove to be much more slippery than the mere stealing of our belongings.

31 ye cannot hold them - again.. he referred to a similar circumstances of having another take from you ...where we had a robber steal from us while we were very near, but electronic riches IPODs, cell phones, they obtain the data of our lives. It is the data that we cannot hold onto. It is somewhere within the virtual world. When we place more trust in the "arm of man" and do not revere the "love of God" we are at risk of not being able to hold onto the things that we prize as most dear.

31 in the days of your poverty - I believe he is referring to the poverty of our spirits. We cannot retain riches when we do not value the source from whence they come. (one another). When we value one another and God, we will always have sufficient for our need.

32. your desolation is already come upon you - when we are without one another, when we place riches before community, before God, before the love and service of our fellow man, the desolation is within our hearts. We cannot stop it unless we change our ways and learn to love others as God does.

33 Oh that we had remembered the Lord our God .. in the day he gave us our riches. Riches that are received as a blessing from God come as a blessing into our lives. Why? Because of how we receive them. Attitude is everything. How we use them to bless the lives of others is paramount to how they in turn bless our lives. When we use them for selfish endeavors we reap selfish rewards.

33. riches are gone from us.- When Job lost all of his wealth, family, and possessions, he was not forsaken. He had his love and faith of God. His possessions were gone, but his riches were in his heart. His riches were of a spiritual and eternal nature. They brought him through the difficulties in a a way that the love of material possessions can not. In terms of identity... if you consider the story of Job.. He lost everything he owned and yet he was able to recover? Why? Because his identity was not caught up in his possessions. His identity was wrapped around his love and respect for God.

34. on the morrow it is gone... material possession may disappear, but faith will be there on the morrow. God's love will be there. Intelligence will be there.

37 we are encircled about by the angels of him who sought to destroy our souls - riches when sought for and obtained for selfish reasons destroy the soul. Riches that are not used to give aid to the poor, the sick and the needy bring the curse of selfishness, loneliness, and greed. I think about all of the products on today's market that seek to "get gain" and in the process destroy our souls. They are many.

38 ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain - we live like a chain of caterpillars who march round in circles until they die. When we don't learn to love, when we don't learn to give unselfishly, when we don't learn to love others more than the cost of things, more than the riches we acquire, then we live in vain. We must love, give, serve, hope, and help one another.

38 ye have sought happiness in doing iniquity - the iniquity comes in not taking time to love others, but always seeking more riches, more time away from the community that would teach us the value of one anothers gifts. Possessions were not meant to be hoarded, but rather to aid and help one another on our journey of life.

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