Thursday, November 13, 2008

Along the lines of the Bishop's Lesson on Sunday

Bishop Ashton talked about that there are a lot of people in our ward that feel like they don't feel the spirit. Or don't recognize when they do. He outlined four parts to recognizing the spirit, but the one that hit me the strongest (and he spent the most time on) was that anything that prompts us to do good, or go in a path towards good is from the spirit. I was reading on and came across a very short story submitted to the Ensign from a RS sister that reinforced this point.

Loaves and Testimonies

By Vida H. Liddell, Ensign, Aug. 2008, 72

One fast Sunday during Relief Society, a sister in our ward stood to bear her testimony. After stating that she had learned how much the Lord loves and cares about her, she shared the following experience.

She had been ill with pneumonia, and one morning she was having a particularly difficult time. Her appetite had diminished considerably, and the only thing she thought she could eat was some homemade bread. She was getting discouraged and had been praying for help to endure her trials.

That very morning her visiting teacher came to the door with a loaf of homemade bread. The sister bore testimony of the love she had felt from Heavenly Father. He had heard her prayers and provided her with exactly what she needed.

As I listened, I realized that I was that visiting teacher. I thought back on that morning, trying to remember why I had decided to take bread over at that time. I hadn’t heard a voice or felt a burning in the bosom. I just woke up that day and felt like making bread.

As I was preparing the loaves, I thought of a sister in our ward who was ill. I had felt helpless throughout her illness because I didn’t know what I could do to relieve her suffering. The thought came to my mind that I should take her a loaf of bread. I tried to talk myself out of it because the loaves turned out somewhat misshapen. But when I tasted one, it seemed fine. “At least she will know that I was thinking about her,” I thought.

I wrapped the warm, odd-looking loaf, and took it to her house. As I presented it to her, she smiled and thanked me but refused my offer of further assistance. I went home feeling good but still concerned that I hadn’t helped much.

Months later, when I heard her testimony, I understood that the Holy Ghost had prompted me in answer to her prayers. This experience taught me a great lesson about the importance of responding to the promptings of the Spirit. If an idea comes to us to do something good, we should do it. The Savior said, “Whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me” (Ether 4:12).

Anytime we have a thought to do good, we can assume that it comes from the Spirit. We never know how important such promptings can be. I had no idea that a loaf of homemade bread would be an answer to a prayer that would strengthen a testimony. And when the sister was prompted to share her experience in Relief Society, she had no idea of the valuable lesson I learned about recognizing the Spirit.

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Bishop Ashton half jokingly referred to even something as simple as taking homemade bread to someone (or buying it - for us domestically challenged) can be a prompting of the spirit. There are opportunities all around just simple little thoughts that we don't recognize that are the Spirit's small and quiet ways of prompting us to be that support to others. I know I'm going to be listening a little harder!