I showed a Pixar short film called "Partly Cloudy" to my class today. This film appears as a bonus feature to the Disney/Pixar movie "UP". I would have embedded it in this blog but didn't want Disney to come after me. This scrawny little stork has a job to perform day after day, and he does so with diligence. He reports to a gloomy cloud who creates non-cuddly creatures for him to deliver to their parents. Other storks have the job of delivering sweet, gentle, easily-lovable creatures, but that's not this stork's mission. As this faithful stork delivers each difficult creature, he suffers some sort of injury from the creature he carries. He reports back to his gloomy cloud a little more damaged and worn down from each trip, but still ready for another mission. Faithful, quiet, patient, long-suffering, steady.
This stork reminded me of Shiblon, son of Alma. Alma has 2 chapters (77 verses) directed to his son Helaman, 4 chapters (91 verses) directed to his son Corianton, and only 1 chapter (15 verses) directed to Shiblon. Why wasn't there more Alma needed to tell Shiblon? It appears that Shiblon got less attention than his brothers. In Alma 38, we gather more understanding of what Shiblon was like. Faithful, quiet, patient, long-suffering, steady. In verse 4, we discover that he suffered much during his mission to the Zoramites; he was put in bonds and stoned. Alma expressed to Shiblon that he had found great joy in his son; he was very proud of him. It seems as though Shiblon was simply a plain, faithful, non-flashy, low drama, teachable, average, humble, dilligent, hard-working member. Good for him............my kinda guy.
There are many other examples in the scriptures of faithful people who receive little mention. In our studies of the Book of Mormon, there's Sam, the brother of Nephi. And what about Omner & Himni, 2 of the sons of Mosiah whose missions we didn't hear about? There are people around us everywhere who serve the Lord diligently, without much recognition. They go through challenges like everyone else and serve just as hard as anyone, but go unnoticed or unrecognized. Not anymore.
We went around the room and talked about people they felt were like Shiblon, and the examples they set for us. They made notice of members of the Church who serve diligently no matter where they are called. Maybe this was their first chance to reflect on their examples, but it's valuable to know that the Lord needs us everywhere, anywhere we're called to serve in the Kingdom. Every calling we serve in somehow molds, shapes, and qualifies us to become like Him. Every calling has a purpose and every person needs a calling!
Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated: "You don't have to live a life that's truer than true. You don't have to have an excessive zeal that becomes fanatical and becomes unbalancing. What you have to do is stay in the mainstream of the Church and live as upright and decent people live in the Church---keeping the commandments, paying your tithing, serving in the organizations of the Church, loving the Lord, staying on the straight and narrow path. If you're on the path when death comes....you'll never fall off from it, and for all practical purposes, your calling and election is made sure".
Faithful, quiet, patient, long-suffering, steady.
So.............to all the Shiblons of the world, thumbs up on a "quiet" job well done. Just know that the students in Sister Wright's class have noticed you, are watching you, and are thankful for you.