You have to do the work first

Ether 2:22 through Ether 3:6

That was part of my reading this morning and I had to go back and read it again because something stood out this time that hadn’t before – or in a different way than it had before.

So the story is that the Lord tells the Brother of Jared and his people to build barges to cross the sea to get to a promised land. So they did build these large barges so there was room for all of the people according to the instructions they were given. When they were finished the brother of Jared went back to speak with the Lord about a couple of problems. First, he didn’t know how they were going to steer them. Second was he was worried about not being able to breathe because the boats had been built so well that they were air tight. Third it was completely dark inside and he worried about how they would get light.

God answers him and says basically not to worry about the steering because He will produce waves and winds that will take them to the place. He says that they should make holes in the tops of the barges with stoppers and when they need to they can open the holes and when the sea gets too rough they can stop up the holes again.

So now the brother of Jared has come with 3 questions and God gives him the answer to 2 of them right off the bat. Then, in Ether 2:23:

23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire.

So, there it is. God is asking the brother of Jared to come up with his own plan and then come back and talk about it.

The brother of Jared goes to a mountain nearby and finds a rock and moltens 16 small stones that were white and clear as glass, 2 for each of the eight barges. After he does this he goes back to talk to the Lord and says in chapter 3 verse 4:

And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.

Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.

Now of course, my first thought today was the same as I have every time I read this story – That’s some great faith there and so the Lord does it because of the faith of the brother of Jared. After that came a new thought that I hadn’t had before. The brother of Jared didn’t come up with that idea and immediately go back to God and ask if that was the right direction. He didn’t worry. He didn’t even seem tho wonder how it would even work because he’d never seen glowing stones before in his whole life and as far as he knew it was impossible. God said, What do you want me to do and the brother of Jared just went for it.

And here is the application of what I’m saying to you as it applies to your families, your life and your church work. You have been given this responsibility. Don’t be afraid, if you have an idea, to run with it. As long as it supports the principles of the Gospel and doesn’t break any commandments the Lord is going to back you up and help you to make it happen successfully. But you have to do the work. Not look for direction at every turn. We are here in this life to learn and to grow. We can’t possibly grow if we are given direction for every little thing. And isn’t it lovely that God trusts us with that responsibility.


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