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Missing the mark

This morning I am overwhelmed with a desire to sell all I have and move my family to Africa to support an orphanage, and never return. And yet my heart is torn to pieces because God has asked me to do something else instead.

It seems like the norm to seek glamorous callings from God. Those who do so err greatly because they don't realize that the real thing is not glamorous at all. Being a servant of the Lord does not get you fame or fortune or renown; it gets you reviling, rejection, and most times death. It does not get you companionship but rather loneliness. It does not get you riches but rather costs you dearly. What it does give you is the opportunity to suffer in behalf of those who do not deserve it and will not make sufficient use of it to justify what it cost. If that is what you desire more than anything, then and only then are you ready to drink the Lord's cup and be his servant.

Those who seek the glamorous callings envy what they do not really understand. If they knew what it was like, given where their hearts are, they would not envy it at all. They would run as fast as they can in the other direction. Which is what they actually do. 

What do I mean? Those who seek glamorous callings do not realize that these things do not come out of the blue. Our service to God increases with our knowledge of God, line upon line. The increase in understanding comes not out of the blue but in response to dedicated and faithful obedience to the little things, day in and day out. 

We also seek for glamorous truth. We want the goodies, not the stuff we already know. We want marvelous new truths, not things pertaining to our daily life. We want to know the mysteries!

26 God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;
27 Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory;
28 A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest.
29 All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
30 And also, if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars—
31 All the times of their revolutions, all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times—
32 According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest. (D&C 121)

We want to know the deep mysteries that may have nothing to do with us personally but we don't realize that the key to unlocking them is always "revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ." Valiantly. Are you valiant? Are you steadfast in the little things?

The Holy Ghost reveals things line upon line, and it will start with the little things in your life that are out of alignment with God's will. If you aren't getting revelations on the big things, it is probably because you are ignoring the little things.

Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls.... (Jacob 4:13)

Odds are that you are, like the Jews in Lehi's day, rejecting the plain things the Holy Ghost tells you because you are only interested in the big things. You can't have the gib things without doing all the little things.

But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble. (Jacob 4:14)

It is wrong to wish for the big things while ignoring the little things. The little things are the big things. They are the only path that exists from where you are to what you say you seek. When you ignore or reject the little things, you are cutting yourself off from the big things. Anyone who ever received the big things only did so by doing the little things.

You may be wondering why God isn't using you as much as you think your heart desires. I invite you to inventory your life for the requests he has made in the little things that you have ignored. I promise you they are there. God is no respecter of persons, and the way he responds to all his children is to give them more when they are true and faithful to what they have, and as soon as they are true and faithful to what they have.

I could give you many examples, and these are just the ones I have a lens on. It is ugly. People who blatantly side step exactly what God is telling them, then have the audacity to say something like, "I just wish he would tell me what to do!" I want to tell them plainly what they have already denied, but what good would it do? They have already been told, and if they don't listen the first time, they are unlikely to listen the second time, and I am not anxious to heap judgment on their heads. It's better for them to reject subtlety than it is for them to reject plainness. And my interactions aren't the first. It's almost always the case that by the time I get to them, they've already rejected the Holy Ghost's promptings. It's not unusual for my discussions with someone to end with, "yeah...God's been telling me that for a long time, but I just didn't listen." 

I can't tell you just how many times God has revealed a blessed task to someone only to have them reject it flat out. I see these things and how they must be completed, and I wish I could do it, but I can't, and it hurts greatly to see them tossed aside by those who would benefit enormously from the privilege of completing them. I know what these people will go throw in the day of judgment. They will know they were given a golden ticket and they threw it into the mud. They will know all the pain that others suffered as a result of their choice. They will know the joy they could have had that can only be encountered on the path of discipleship. And they will know the interesting contradiction that those they envied for doing what they could not understand actually envied them for doing what they wished they could do. 

It is not a light thing to receive a revelation of such magnitude. God holds people accountable for the light they have received. It is possible in this life to turn away from such great light that it permanently alters the rest of your life. You can turn away from sufficient light to permanently reduce your standing with God for the rest of your life. It's a matter of opportunity, not forgiveness. Certain things can't be undone. 

I invite you to ask God what opportunities you may have turned away from, and to repent from doing so in the future.