Monday, November 30, 2009

BUILDING the Kingdom

We're here to BUILD the kingdom of God on the earth.  The word BUILD means "to construct by assembling and joining parts or materials, to establish, increase, or strengthen."  Does this mean that if we're NOT BUILDING, we are "weakening, deconstructing, or diminishing?"  It's very interesting to observe how a little negative can put a significant dent in a lot of positive. Buying a new outfit and receiving multiple compliments on it could boost our spirits!  But one negative criticism about it may dampen our desires to ever wear it again.  Or, we might have given a great talk in sacrament meeting.  But someone may have pointed out that we talked too fast or that we didn't look up enough while speaking.  After hearing that, maybe our talk was just okay, instead of great.

Alma the Younger

In Mosiah 26:1-4, Mosiah 27:1-2 and 8-10, the "rising generation" were among the unbelievers.  They couldn't relate to the words passed down to them from King Benjamin, being that they were small children during his time.  They were disconnected from the teachings of the Church, so they began to tear it down.  The four sons of King Mosiah (Ammon, Aaron, Omner & Himni), and Alma's son, Alma, were among the unbelievers.   Alma the Younger was wicked, idolatrous, articulate and influential.  "And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them.  And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king—" (Mosiah 27:8-9)

I brought some snap-together building blocks to seminary and asked a few class members to build me a structure of some kind......a castle, a fortress, a kingdom. I also privately asked one of them to be as annoying as possible (he had fun with that), and tear down what the others were BUILDING while they were working. It was so easy for him to tear down in seconds, what the others took several minutes to BUILD.  What ended up being a small tower, could have been a kingdom.  It only took one person to do the damage.

So what if Alma the Younger could harness his efforts to BUILD, rather than destroy?  What would it take? A change of heart?  What would it take for US TO BUILD, and how could we do it?  I imagine that as we BUILD the kingdom of God here on the earth, a softening of the heart would need to occur to effect a change in us and others.   This is what we considered.

Mosiah 2:17
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
(The "crown" helps us remember King Mosiah for the book of Mosiah, "two glasses" on his tray helps us remember chapter 2, we decided he looks like he's "17-years-old" to help us remember verse 17, and he's "serving others" which is what the SM is about.)

I kept pondering on how to help our class continually work on keeping our hearts softened, and BUILD the kingdom while doing it.  This Scripture Mastery scripture kept coming to my mind.  This then led me to think of President Monson's birthday request that he mentioned in this past General Conference (Oct. 2009).  The ideal gift that members worldwide could give to him would be to "find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do something for him or her."

President Monson's Jar of "Warm Fuzzies"

President Monson received a large jar containing hundreds of "warm fuzzies" from a group of Primary children.  Each "warm fuzzy" represents an act of service performed during the year by one of the children in Primary.  Our class has adopted this activity in hopes of offering ourselves to the Lord in service by serving others.  Each day we meet for seminary until the end of the school year, we will be logging our service and adding "warm fuzzies" to our jar.  We will present this to "someone special" (to be revealed at a later date) at our seminary graduation in June.  It's not about just filling the jar.  It's about changing ourselves (our hearts) and those we serve.  It's about becoming like Christ, and contributing to BUILDING his kingdom. 

Maybe with a combined positive effort, instead of contructing a small tower, we could BUILD one of these!

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