Beneath our Privileges
As a whole, I see that there has always been more ‘on the table’ for us as children of God and as members of this church. Those who have gone before us have pointed out to us that we live far beneath our privileges, so it doesn’t appear that this is new thing. It is – perhaps – a kinder way of expressing the frustration that I’ve experienced.
With a quick search I was able to pull up pages of quotes about Latter-Day Saints and ‘living beneath our privileges.’ One of the quotes resonated with me (in other words – it made me laugh); I hope someone out there might be able to see why. Here is Wilford Woodruff:
“[T]he testimony of the Spirit of God to me is that this whole kingdom, this great kingdom of priests … who have borne the priesthood, have thoroughly fulfilled one part of the parable of the ten virgins. What is that? Why, that while the Bridegroom has tarried we have all slumbered and slept; as a church and kingdom we have slumbered and slept, and the word of the Lord to me is that we have slept long enough; and we have the privilege now of rising and trimming our lamps and putting oil in our vessels.”
As much as I shared the words of President or Prophet Wilford Woodruff of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Brigham Young (the second President and Prophet), actually beat him to inviting our people to ‘wake up.’ The message has been frequently repeated by our leaders as time has gone on.
Much more recently, Elder Deiter F. Uchtdorf asked our people a question in his talk: “Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?” I love how he awoke me to a new perspective about the time in which we live:
“Sometimes we think of the Restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us… In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes ‘all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,’ and the ‘many great and important things’ that ‘He will yet reveal.’ …the exciting developments of today are part of that long-foretold period of preparation that will culminate in the glorious Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
His talk as a whole has drawn me – like a personal invitation to me – to be part of the restoration, rather than just an observer of it.
So, I could end there, but let me try to re-approach from a different angle: It was spoken by the mouth an Old Testament Prophet, Joel, that the word of the Lord would “roar out of Zion.” This passage of scripture has led me to ask some questions: Are we not Zion? Is this a roar?!? What constitutes a roar? Is it what one man does as he teaches in the strength of the spirit? Is it what happens when fifteen men speak with the voice of the Lord?
That isn’t the feeling I get – that isn’t the ‘voice of the spirit’ to me about these scriptures. The impression I get virtually every time I read these scriptures nowadays is that this roar is intended to be an entire nation. In my mind and heart, the strength and power of the nation of Zion in the last days – as foretold in the scriptures – cannot be accounted for in the strength of ‘someone else’ or ‘a few of us.’ And I am led to another question: to what extent do we even know what the word of God roaring out of us feels like?
If you were born in my generation, we weren’t the first to be told that we were the generation that would be prepared to meet our Savior at His coming. Maybe we yet will be. However, where will the roar come from? I believe it will come with or without us (that’s a pretty safe statement). Regardless, where and when will the roaring start? Where and when will we join?
We Wake Up Before We Roar
I feel that a crucial part of waking up to our world requires us to ‘wake up’ to ourselves. We talk frequently about having a divine identity before being born and about being born in a specific place at a specific time to experience different things and fulfill specific purposes. As I shared in my talk at church recently: God didn’t organize and plan all of these things so carefully, so that we could come down to try to be somebody else. For me, I realize that I am imperfect, I may be less than the picturesque Latter-Day Saint, and I know that I absolutely do not measure up to some standards among our people or to the very standards I, myself, personally have.
My ability to do what I feel is ‘roaring’ has nothing to do with how much I feel loved, endorsed, or supported by my people. It has everything to do with how much I feel loved by my Savior. So, when I roar, I let go of how others might see me and perceive me and serve my God with all of my heart.
You see, each of us being carefully placed individuals with circumstances well-understood and predicted by our Father, are going to have different ‘hearts’ and unique souls. This is no accident, not something to hide, but rather something for us to yield to the Lord so that He can make it sing! So that He can make us roar! So when we all roar it isn’t going to be powerful because we’re all roaring the single, same, exact words, its going to be powerful because we’re all roaring different aspects of the exact same message that we have each experienced individually.
In this way we find unity in purpose despite the fact we each exercise vastly different gifts! As our scripture reads: “To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.” There is no judgment, there is no comparison, only a collection of identities in the grace and power of Christ.
Wondering what your ‘roaring’ is? What it sounds like? Merely discover your ‘heart of hearts’ in the part of you that seeks and follows after God. Though our circumstances may have challenged us, hurt us, or left us feeling broken, God’s purposes for us are as imprinted on our souls as they were in the eyes of God before we were born. To know our roar is simply to know our own unique divine nature… our individual worth.
It isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to discover, but it is important to recognize that it is real and it is also powerful. My experiences tells me that we find our identities by knowing the Lord well enough to see as He sees and taking a long look at ourselves. It can be intimidating – in my case, heartbreaking – but so eternally valuable. When you find yourself and your purposes, you find laboring in the Kingdom of God and in all of the Lord’s Vineyard to be instinctual, strengthening, revitalizing, and precious.
All of this having been shared, I want to share a quote that I have loved since my early teens:
When a wrong wants righting, or a work wants doing, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent wants opening, God sends a baby into the world to do it. That is why, long, long ago, a babe was born at Bethlehem. (F. W. Boreham, Mountains in the Mist: Some Australian Reveries , 170)
Lastly, with us being the absolute and completely literal offspring of God, “Your own Self-Realization is [truly] the greatest service you can render the world.” (Ramana Maharshi)
Shall we roar? 😉
P.S. Do you know how awesome it is to invite people to roar… It’s pretty awesome.