Thursday, August 25, 2016

D&C 59:13-16 -- On Cheerfulness and Appreciation

"And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.
Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.
And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—
Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;"
Doctrine and Covenants 59:13-16


I love that fasting and prayer equals rejoicing and prayer.  Sometimes we get confused and we think that fasting = starving.  Totally not the case, as we see here. :)  Fasting, instead, is equated with joy and rejoicing.  I love that.  And all of the Sabbath Day things are supposed to be done with cheerful hearts.  We aren't always cheerful about it in the moment though, so how do we change our perspective on that?

These verses are part of a discussion of the Sabbath Day, and I think part of that perspective changing is just actually trying that idea of setting aside time for the Lord.  In verses previous to this selection, it talks about specific things to do on the Sabbath, but that statement about "none other thing" is interesting because it suggests that we really focus and spend time on the few things that he has asked us to do.  Part of making fasting and the Sabbath a joy is that focus--that communication with God and constant prayer and intent spirituality that we can't get on a normal day full of distractions.

Sometimes if we limit our activities on the Sabbath to what God asks, we are tempted to say "I'm bored."  This is probably because we aren't focused, and we keep thinking about the things that we want to do with *our* time.  However, just like a little kid who says he is bored can become engaged with a new activity if he gives it a chance, we can become engaged in the activities that God has chosen for us, if we give them a chance.  Prayer doesn't have to be just a 5-second, or even 5-minute, activity.  When we practice talking to the Lord more and more, we can discover so much more, and really learn more about God.  The same goes with scripture study, which can be awesome as a group, and talking with each other about the gospel.  There are gospel stories that can engage even the most reluctant child if they are told well.

Today, let's let go of the idea that church is boring and that there isn't anything to do on Sundays that is approved by God.  There is so much to do, including taking the time to rest and to think about our lives.  God and his gospel aren't boring at all.  In fact, they are endlessly fascinating, and pretty much encompass all of life.  If we need more excitement, get some scriptural trivia going on, or act out some of the stories.  Witty banter is A-OK, as long as it is really witty and not mean or mocking.  Let's talk to each other about the gospel, and learn all we can. Certainly none of us have mastered it all.

Let's talk to God.  He's serious about the gospel, of course, but he also has a sense of humor, and wants us to be happy.  Let's listen to his suggestions, and live the gospel more cheerfully. :)  I think part of God promising us that the fulness of the Earth is ours is just that if we learn to appreciate the gospel, then we learn to appreciate everything in it... and we'll know how to use it well.  Let's get started. :)

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