Sunday, November 30, 2008

Things Wise Men Do

A couple of years ago a friend of ours sent us a Christmas card that had a lovely picture of the wise men crossing the desert in the dark of night, following the brightness of the Star of Hope. There were only five words written on it. Can you guess what they were? I had never heard this until then and I just loved it. Loved it. It said "Wise Men Still Seek Him." Everything about those words appeal to me, beginning with the play on words and ending with the truism it contains with a whole lot of emotional a-ha's in between.

A few weeks ago a man gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. One of the things that he said really struck me. He said, "We know that we are to build our foundation on the Savior, but you can't live on just a foundation. You have to build walls and a roof. You need a place to live, not just somewhere to start building. The foundation is extremely important, but if you stop there, you're missing the point. He said that once we've chosen to have the Savior as the central point of our lives, we can't leave it at that. We have to learn and study. We have to grow spiritually and develop a deeper understanding of the things of God, continuing with Christ as our center point. A sure foundation is the single most important thing for starting your building, but it needs to be added to and built upon.

I started applying this to myself. The talk was given to relatively new members of the church. There is sometimes a tendency (with us all) to get complacent. To feel like, yes, now we understand the gospel so let's try to keep the commandments and call it good. I realized that I have a great advantage over Polish members of the church, in that I was raised in the church and have been learning and studying all my life. You could say that in some ways I know more. I think I have my house built. My foundation is sure, like the wise man's in the parable, and there are walls and a roof. I am mostly unaffected by passing storms. I am resilient because of the practice of my faith over the years.

Then I started to think about that house. What's it like?* Am I keeping up with the maintenance? And what's the interior like? What are the furnishings? It seems this analogy can be taken from the foundation to the walls and roof and even further. Living with just walls and a roof doesn't quite make for what I would call a high standard of living. I would like to have a lovely place to dwell. I would like to be sure that there are no leaks or chipping paint. That the inside is comfortable and cozy. Since the excitement of the actual building of the house ended for me long ago, there are much smaller, but also important things I need to attend to. My life can be greatly enriched by deeper study and a stronger exercising of faith and service and a greater effort made toward selflessness. There are still so many little things I can do to make my house a home.

I want to be a wise man (or probably actually a woman). One who seeks Him. One who builds his (her) house upon the Rock. And one who has excellent home furnishings.
*I like adding in a bit of C.S. Lewis' and his analogy of our "decent little cottage" that the Lord will tear down walls of and hammer and work in all sorts of uncomfortable, and even painful ways because he has planned for us, not a cottage, but a palace.


Erin said...

What an excellent post! I have never thought about it this way. I know my foundation is firm, but how strong is my house?

Thank you.

MelancholySmile said...

Oh, what a perfect post to read at the start of my Sunday morning! I feel that I am in that same place, spiritually, and can really identify with the idea of not only maintaining faith, but building upon it and allowing the lord to create a palace out of my cottage. Now, if we could only come up with an analogy involving fashion, I'd be set. ;)

Heidi Ashworth said...

Love this! It's such a great analogy. Some of those storms that come are those from the Lord to make a more fit dwelling.

JustRandi said...

I love that thought! I can even use it in my lesson today! Thank-you, inspired woman.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

This is a great post, Lisa. I've always loved that concept of wise men, and have included Ether 12:41 several times in my own Christmas cards. And a great thought about a dwelling as well as a foundation. There truly is more protection when we're actually living the gospel instead of just believing in it. Thanks.

Melissa said...

This is something really important to think about. We need to maintain and improve our houses. It's not enough just to build it and then sit back in our big lazy-boys and watch t.v. Great reminder for me. (Not that I have a lazy-boy, but I do have a t.v. Not that I watch it that much, either, but you know what I mean).

Becky said...

Thank you for this Sunday morning pick-me-up! My husband just got called to be a High Councilor and today is my first day going it alone with the kids. So I'm a little apprehensive.

This was just what I needed. You rock!

Moody said...

Wow, this was really good. I'm sure yours will have excellent furnishings. I have a feeling that I've built a cottage and need to build a palace though! Food for thought...

Alison Wonderland said...

"Fantastic analogy" she thinks as she sits in her kitchen, the feet of her chair resting on plywood sub-floor and loosup at her bare sheetrock walls.
And as you know, that wasn't an analogy.

Kazzy said...

I love the idea of building up the rest of the house. Such a good reminder. What does it say about me if I have some chipping paint here and there?

Wise men still follow Him. Yes, I have heard that one before and loved it like you did.

I too want to be wise.

Anne said...

What a perfect way to start the Christmas season! I'll have to share this with Matt tonight! Thanks Lis!

Annie Valentine said...

Beautiful. I think I'll start working on my master bath...

Lara said...

This was such a wonderful post...thank you for sharing it. I needed to hear many of the things you said.

I also love the "Wise Men still seek Him" phrase. A few years ago, I too received a card with that phrase, but the picture was my friend's little boy, looking into an empty manger. Loved that.

charrette said...

I love focusing on this. In fact, I wrote down an outline for a book based (more or less) on this idea, several years ago. (Still no book, but i haven't forgotten.) I think my "house" at this point resembles a manger more than a mansion...but that's not a bad place to start!

dp said...

Good job Lisa - it has been my experience that most religious posts have a tendency to make me want to apostatize. just. to. make. it. stop.

But that one actually drew me in, well done.


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