Saturday, April 9, 2011

To Walk More Blamelessly before God

My New Year's Resolution for the month of April is "to walk more blamelessly before God" - taken from the first sentence of Alma 5:27, which reads:

Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? 

As I began to contemplate this question and how to internalize it a little more fully this month, I separated it instinctively into three core concepts:

1) We must walk our life's journey; we cannot sit, nor can we run.

2) We must walk "before God". 

3) We must strive to be blameless in "how" we walk.

I will attempt to address each of these points each Saturday this month and try to wrap them together on the final Saturday of the month.

1) We must walk; we cannot sit, nor can we run.

A number of scriptures come to mind immediately when I consider walking - not sitting or running.  Among them are the following:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. 

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 

The central idea in these and other passages is that all things must be done with patience at a proper pace - that "enduring to the end" most often is a case of continuing to walk a long journey steadily and humbly rather than sprint to a near finish line.  The interesting thing, to me, is the differing imagery that is employed in these three passages to address the same general topic.  

The first passage (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) presents an image of someone walking through life at a pace that allows him to look around and see each "time" and "season" for what it is.  There is no rushing around in such a hurry that he misses the signs that tell what he should be doing at that moment.  He literally is strolling and observing - and, thus, acting according to what he observes in relation to his own life.  

I believe the person who walks thus is tune with the things that he sees, is more likely to see all that is put before him and, thus, less prone to miss what God wants of him.   

The second passage (Mosiah 4:27) adds an element of stamina to the first image.  In this verse, the person not only is in tune with what is placed before her, but she also walks at a pace that does not exhaust herself - that allows her to continue to walk without needing to take long pauses but at the maximum pace that she is capable of accomplishing.  She does not walk faster than she is able, but she does walk as quickly as she is able to do consistently for the length of her journey.  Thus, she covers the maximum distance possible for her - regardless of how that distance compares to the distance walked by anyone else.  

I also love the inclusion of the phrase "in wisdom and order" - as it implies, to me, an active and conscious prioritization on the part of the walker.  She acts as an "agent unto herself" - using her wisdom to "order" her life appropriately - again, regardless of how others order and prioritize their own lives.  

The final verse (Ecclesiastes 9:11) adds a truly unique and important element to the discussion.  The first part is a nice restatement of the others. However, the last part is a reminder that there really is enough time for ALL to accomplish what is set before them, if they but continue to walk - AND it emphasized an important disclaimer, if you will.  It is not just "time" that happens to all; "chance" happens to all, as well.  

"Chance" can be nothing more than "luck or fortune" - and that might be a legitimate reading of this verse.  However, given what is stated in the first part of the verse, I prefer to define "chance" as "opportunity or possibility".  With this interpretation, the last part of this verse would read: 

but all have time and opportunity

[In stating it this way, I believe it also is important to recognize directly that, when comparing life to a race of some sort, ALL can "walk" figuratively (since "walk" when juxtaposed with "run" connotes a difference in "pace or speed" rather than "manner") - while all cannot run.]

In summary, my resolution this month includes the commitment to strive to walk with my eyes open, seeking to see and recognize this "time" for what it is - to see the Lord's purpose for my life this specific and unique month.  It includes the need to use wisdom to order / prioritize the activities of this month.  It includes the faith that, if  I strive to walk in this manner, that there really will be time for me to accomplish whatever the Lord wants me to accomplish, that I really will have the chance to do so - that I truly may be more than I am now when I finish my mortal journey. 

1 comment:

Richard Alger said...

This is an example of why I subscribe to your posts. I have a post of my own that you inspired.

Thank you so much.