Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Be Prepared - Ether 2:1-3
1 AND it came to pass that Jared and his brother, and their families, and also the friends of Jared and his brother and their families, went down into the valley which was northward, (and the name of the valley was Nimrod, being called after the mighty hunter) with their flocks which they had gathered together, male and female, of every kind.
2 And they did also lay snares and catch fowls of the air; and they did also prepare a vessel, in which they did carry with them the fish of the waters.
3 And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind.
(Book of Mormon | Ether 2:1 - 3)
The Jaredites are preparing to travel. They do not know yet where the Lord will send them. They do not know yet that they will be travelling by water. They were commanded to gather together animals and birds of all kinds, and they are being obedient to that command.
They transported an aquarium to carry fish, and swarms of bees. Perhaps most importantly, they carried with them seeds of every kind, so that wherever they were led, they would be able to raise food.
The moral of the story is to be prepared. The economy is sputtering, the U.S. dollar has been weakening against the Euro and other denominations for a while. Floods have ravaged the Midwest, which is sending the cost of certain commodities like corn skyrocketing. There are wars raging, and rumors of wars everywhere.
Are we ready?
In the October, 2007 conference Elder Walter F. Gonzalez spoke about, “Today Is the Time.” Included in his sermon was the following:
“When President James E. Faust informed my wife and me that we would be transferred to Lima, Peru, we had no clue that on August 15, 2007, only a few days after our arrival, we would witness a devastating earthquake. More than 52,000 houses were destroyed by its sheer strength. Worse yet, it left more than 500 dead. Nine of them were members of the Church. Members in the Ica and Pisco stakes and the Cañete and Chincha districts suffered the brunt of the tremor’s aftermath.
The Church provided immediate relief to its members and those of other faiths. The morning after the quake, our members in the disaster area were receiving food and clothing, and before noon the Church was donating humanitarian aid to the nation’s civil defense. Many members who were left homeless were sheltered in our meetinghouses. Despite how unexpected the catastrophe was, the priesthood organization functioned very well to bring relief to those less fortunate.
Stake and district presidents along with bishops went out to help their members only minutes after the earthquake. The terrible situation in which these priesthood leaders went out is worth highlighting: it was nighttime; the lights were out; destruction abounded; and the earth would not stop shaking. These magnificent priesthood leaders left their families secured and walked out into the darkness, among people who wept, surrounded by destroyed houses. Thus our leaders went out during the night and the following days, facing frequent, strong aftershocks and a tsunami warning. They searched among the rubble, in the midst of commotion, risking their own lives to get to all the members. A bishop declared, “Without as much as a second thought, I ran in search of my Church brothers and sisters and leaders.” He found them. That’s how he spent most of the night.
What motivated these leaders to go out and help others, even to the risking of their own lives? Certainly it was their great faith in the Savior and His Church. It was their understanding of their calling as leaders in the priesthood. It was gospel principles engraved in their lives before the earthquake, not during the crisis—engraved not with ink but with fire by the Spirit in the fleshy tablets of their hearts (see 2 Corinthians 3:3).
The possibility of an earthquake was always there. When or how it would hit no one knew. When it came, it was devastating. But under the direction of the priesthood, the moment’s challenge was faced. In many cases, when members were unable, the Lord made up the difference. Some members tell of seeing men in white helping to save their lives. Others heard guiding voices. Years of Church service were a preparatory school to becoming organized and helping one another.
The same happens in our lives. We don’t know when or how earthquakes will hit us. They likely won’t be literal shakings of the earth, as happened in Peru, but rather quakes of temptations, sin, or trials, such as unemployment or serious sickness. Today is the time to prepare for when that type of quake comes. Today is the time to prepare—not during the crisis. What are we doing today to engraven in our souls the gospel principles that will uphold us in times of adversity?”
The scriptures teach us that if we are prepared, we will not fear. Prophets, Apostles, and other General Authorities have given the clarion call for us to prepare. Hopefully, we will be wise like the Jaredites and be prepared to do whatever the Lord requires of us.