Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Consider the Lilies

My desk is covered with books.  It is stacked with notebooks and pens and paper clips and tools, and the shelves that surround me are filled with more books, and scrapbooks, and notebooks, and craft supplies, and photographs.  This is my little bit of heaven on earth.  This is my happy place.  The exciting thing for me is to discover what will reach out and grab my attention on any particular day.

Today brought one of the biggest surprises I have had in awhile.  I don't always know or remember how some things end up within arm's reach of my desk(s) (for you see I actually have two desks and two chairs which make it perfect for guests to stop by and visit me in my happy place; I especially love when my children, or my husband, peek in and pull up a chair). A beautiful purple book begged my notice.  I remember buying this book because one of the authors was a Seminary teacher of mine from years ago.  The book is entitled The New Testament for Today:  Biblical Stories with Modern Parallels  By W. Jeffrey Marsh and Ron. R. Munns, but I hadn't found the time to read it until now.

I immediately became engaged, enjoying the format of a passage of scripture from the New Testament which was then followed by commentary or a story from latter-day disciples.
On page twenty-five, one of my favorite passages was shared from Matthew 6:24-33, wherein Christ admonishes his followers to put their trust in God, to "take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink...And why take ye thought for raiment?  Consider the lilies of the field,how they grow...even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these....for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Following these verses was a true story, entitled "Your Children Shall Never Beg for Bread."  This story has since been made into a film, entitled Treasure in Heaven, and I found a trailer for it on youtube.  After you watch the trailer, I will tell you why this story found me sitting in tears, all alone in my little room, my heart overflowing with gratitude.
From the book I read today:  "It is estimated that at various times John gave or loaned over fifty thousand dollars to Joseph Smith and the Church.  Later, as John forgave the remaining debts incurred while in Kirtland, Ohio, "the Prophet Joseph laid his right hand heavily on Elder Tanner's shoulder, saying, 'God bless you, Father Tanner; your children shall never beg bread'.

"John Tanner sacrificed everything he had for the gospel, and the promise given to him by the Prophet Joseph Smith has been literally fulfilled."

I am a direct descendant of this John Tanner.  Not too many generations pass without linking him to my Grandmother Frances Carter Yost, then my mother Caroline, and then me.  Also interesting to note, the missionaries that blessed John to be healed and then baptized him, are also ancesters from my mother's line, Simeon and Jared Carter, brothers to my Great Grandfather Gideon Carter. 

Sitting in my own little sanctuary, I was faced with the reality of my great heritage, while reading this lovely story in a seemingly random book.  In doing so, I felt the direct love of my Heavenly Father.  Because of the great sacrifices of those that have gone before me, I am reaping the great blessings of an inconquerable legacy.  My humble needs have always been met.  I have always had a roof over my head.  I have always had food in my cupboard.  I have always found a way to clothe my children, even if it meant sewing play clothes from scraps from the sewing factory.

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin...Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

My prayer is that we will always remember from whom our greatest blessings flow; that if we make our lives as holy offerings to God, He will pour out blessings from the windows of heaven, "that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10)


Laura said...

LOVED this post! Family history gives me goosebumps. I absolutely love telling my boys stories like these of our ancestors. What a wonderful family history treasure you have to pass on.

LeAnn said...

What a lovely inspirational post.
I was very uplifted by your thoughts. I also love the John Tanner story.
We are just so blessed in so many ways. I like the phrase by Elder Bednar of looking for the Tender mercies of the Lord.
I just dropped in for a moment and I will return; I like your post.
Check out my blog at Living Water

Kim said...

As a teenager, I sang a song with my mom entitled "Consider the lilies." At the time, I didn't think much about the words I was singing but as I've gotten older, I've come to love the Savior's words and I love that passage as well! Thanks for the great post!