The first Sunday of the month, the Relief Society and Elder’s Quorum is taught by the Presidency of those groups, making them hard to prepare for in advance. But I would like to take a few moments to share the wonderful spiritual lesson I received yesterday, with the hopes that it brings the Spirit into your life.
Our class yesterday came from the December 2006 issue of the Ensign, an article by Elder David Bednar entitled “Quick to Observe”. As I listened to the sister teaching the lesson, and then considered it during the drive home, I thought about the interesting dual definitions of the word ‘observe’.
As Elder Bednar pointed out, observe can mean both to look or notice and to obey and keep. When I glanced in my topical guide, most references for the word ‘observe’ leaned toward the second definition, as in observing the commandments. (By the way, Mormon’s gift of being quick to observe is not listed in the Topical Guide!)
Our classroom discussion centered primarily on being quick to observe the commands of the prophet. One sister shared a beautiful analogy, which I would like to pass on to you. She noted that oftentimes, when she tells her children to do something, she is met with the question that plagues all parents, “Why?” She tries to encourage her children to listen and respond immediately – to be quick to observe – but is not always successful. “But suppose one day,” she said, “I saw them running toward the street as a car approached and told them to stop.” If they shouted over their shoulder ‘why’, the child would surely be lost. But if they quickly obeyed because they trusted their mother, they would be saved.
The same holds true with the commandments from the prophet. Many of the details of his counsel seem to focus on ongoing habits – scripture study, family prayer, attending church, and so forth. And yet, if we take those and apply them immediately to our lives, we may find our saves from a spiritual accident.
At that point, it occurred to me that the same was true of promptings from the Holy Spirit. Several times in the past month especially, I have been slow to respond to spiritual urges. For some reason or other, I have second guessed them a lot lately, then immediately regretted those hesitations. One instance occurred just yesterday, when I noticed a sister visiting the ward. I felt prompted to greet her, but was wrapped up in trying to shepherd my children and rationalized that I would welcome her once we were in Relief Society and the kids were in class. Instead, she left partway through the meetings. I can only hope and pray that others in the branch took the time to greet and welcome her – and with such a friendly branch I am sure they did – instead of ignoring the promptings sent from the Holy Spirit.
As we are quick to heed these promptings, we become more in tune with our Father’s will, and better able to receive his counsel directly. We become his hands on the earth and his servants, and may well be saved from spiritual accidents.
Until we received this lesson yesterday, I had never realized that being ‘quick to observe’ was a spiritual gift. However, it is one that I will continue to pray for and strive to act on.