Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gaining Spiritual Strength

I ran across a great story by Elder M. Russell Ballard. He said, “Oftentimes we are like the young merchant from Boston, who in 1849, as the story goes, was caught up in the fervor of the California gold rush. He sold all of his possessions to seek his fortune in the California rivers, which he was told were filled with gold nuggets so big that one could hardly carry them.
Day after endless day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. His only reward was a growing pile of rocks. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit until one day an old, experienced prospector said to him, “That’s quite a pile of rocks you are getting there, my boy.”

The young man replied, “There’s no gold here. I’m going back home.”

Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, “Oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it.” He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.

Noticing a bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector’s waist, the young man said, “I’m looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks.”

The old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.

The old prospector said, “Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’re missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.”

Similarly, I believe that we don’t fill our spiritual cup with one big splash of inspiration, but we fill it drip by drip with daily prayer and scripture study. It takes longer, but the cup does get filled. But if we go for a period of time without filling our cup, it can evaporate and dry up. It takes those constant drips of spiritual nourishment to keep our cup full. In the same way, I don’t think most people get a testimony by one huge earthshaking answer to prayers. I think it is more of an accumulation of thoughts and feelings, prayer and scripture study that grows that testimony in us day by day.

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