Ack! I totally dropped the ball this week! I am going to blame it on Mothers’ Day. I was being pampered too much.
I loved this talk! I had never really looked at this parable from the perspective of a laborer who was left behind until the end, who may have been discouraged at the thought of going without work again. I can't wait to study it again!
I do so love E. Holland! I have a son who struggles with fairness. He cannot seem to get past the idea of someone getting more or better than he does. He also has a deep need to be first, regardless of the advisability of being first, especially in the face of being unprepared at wherever he is first. The first parts of this talk seem a tender love letter to him, or more precisely, since he is 8, a guidebook for me to teach him. I love E. Holland's definition of faith-holding on, seeing it through, until the stress of it all is swept up in the glory of the final reward. So much of envy seems a lack of faith that God can be more than we can understand--that He can be both just and merciful. There is a scripture in Micah and a few other places (more or less) that our admonition in this life is to be just, merciful and to walk humbly before God. Basically, it is a laying out of those other scriptural admonitions to be like the Savior, to be perfect, that to do so we must be so very humbly aware that we are as bereft and at the mercy of the Lord whether we have come early to the party or at the very last and that our earliness is not diminished one whit by someone else's late arrival.Having recently seen a dear friend sink to a place where she seemed very visibly to believe she was beyond the reach of the light of the Atonement--like those fish who live in the deepest darkest depths of the ocean--E. Holland's promise, his bold testimony that no such outside place exists was warming and truly testimony affirming. It reminds me that I am the person to carry that message forward, we all are, by embracing the lost ones, by extending our hands, by reflecting the light of the Savior's atonement through us on them.
Angie--I loved both of your thoughts here, since I have a son who always wants to be first AND last (really??) and because I, too have a friend that I really thought of while hearing this. Thanks. :) --Becca2
What a powerful talk. Isn't it so hard not to think that those first workers were totally ripped off?? Elder Holland pegged me on that one. I loved the reminder that I need to practice being happy for other people--and to make sure I'm verbalizing and rejoicing with them. When I heard this talk, my mind raced to a good friend of mine who is currently undergoing a real spiritual trial. She is being positively held hostage by envy and jealousy--of what people look like, of callings they're given that she isn't, etc. And she is a remarkable woman that ANYONE would admire and want to be like! She feels left out, but I have seen people try to include her over and over again. She has shut herself out. But in trying to love her through this challenge in her life, Elder Holland's talk really struck home for me about how easily this can happen to any of us. How careful we need to be to avoid the trap of envy, and to love EVERYONE. Grateful for the inspiration of this talk. --Becca2
Since I didn't really comment on this talk in the post, and you all have shared such great comments already, I thought I would share my thoughts here in the comment section.This talk and the parable remind me of a principle I was discussing with a friend - that a child's view of "fair" is not necessarily what an adult's view of "fair" is. As adults, we think "fair" means that everybody has everything exactly the same. A child's view of "fair" means that everyone gets what he/she wants/needs.For example, to two child who want the same toy "fair" can be that one child plays with the toy for a few seconds and then the other child plays with the toy for the rest of the play date. Both children got what they wanted/needed, even if they didn't play with the toy for an "equal" amount of time. Think of how an adult would approach this situation. An adult would probably set a timer and make sure each child got to play with the toy for the exact amount of time.Who do you think does it more like Heavenly Father?I think it's the children - they've got the law of consecration down. Each person gives what they have and each person gets what they need.
My children have never understood fair the way you described it. I wish they did. My son I wrote about earlier has always, since he could articulate anything, been of the bean counting fairness variety. We talk a lot about the fact that when they say "fair" what they really mean is "I want what someone else has," which is not really fair by any definition. I know some families that actually refer to "fair" as a four letter word, so I don't think my children are entirely aberrant. Perhaps, yours are unusually spiritually gifted?I frequently recall to my children what I once read was Orson Scott Card's way of teaching the inherent problem with fair. One of OSC's sons had mental and physical difficulties (Down's I think). He felt that his children were really meaning "same" when they said "fair," so one day he agreed. Everyone will get exactly and only the same rights and privileges. All the children cheered. Then he explained: That means that everyone will get exactly and only what disabled son can do and have. Children quickly backpedaled and began to learn to avoid pleas for "fairness".The Law of Consecration is a celestial law, one that few people I know can manage, in part because we, as mortals are inherently bad at distinguishing wants from true needs--even as children. Toy times are the only way my sisters with their respective twin preschoolers have survived this long. Each child truly believes s/he NEEDS it all. The only way we will ever be able to change our natures is to learn the tension between justice and mercy, that "fair" doesn't really exist by any calculus for mortals, because we are missing the celestial variables in the equation. As we get to know God and his nature by walking humbly with Him, we learn the variables that make the equation work (we also want less, because we begin to finally see that we actually need less), until then, we try to do justly, beg for mercy and send our gratitude regularly to the heavens that God, because He is God is both just and merciful.
Ooooh, Becca, you've given me more to think about! Now I'm going to be watching my kids more closely on this, but I think you're right on. Another reason to try and be more childlike....
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I love the way that Elder Holland takes parables and explains them from a different point of view. (The Prodigal Son from the older brother's perspective is a great one.) And I just love Elder Holland, so I really loved this talk. There's so much in life for which to be grateful, and we really are happier as we learn to be happy for others.I wrote more over on my blog - http://neverboredwhispers.blogspot.com/2012/05/trying-to-find-object-lesson.html (I don't know why it didn't work properly last time. Sorry for the deleted comment.)
It was pointed out to me once that Elder Holland always compliments, thanks, or gives confidence when he begins his talks. I think that is a good example of one of his points - to not envy - and I hope to be better at that in my communications with others.
This is a lovely talk. I really enjoyed his expansion of the parable and the thoughts about mercy and kindness and the atonement. At the end it reminded me of one of my favorite books, Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson. So I went and reread some of that book again and decided I wanted to reread it in more depth and its sequel. I love GCBC!
What makes your soul delight? This is my invitation to you to share your thoughts right here on my blog. I read every one of them, and I appreciate them!