Every six months during general conference we take a couple days and listen to our Prophets and Apostles and other leaders speak and teach us about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Over all, it consists of about 10 hours of gospel instruction over a two day period. Throughout that 10 hour instruction period, we cant really expect ourselves to remember each and every phrase, idea, instruction, and encouragement, but the ideas and feelings we get can last forever. Sometimes a certain phrase, or sentence really resonates with us and it triggers a train of thought that inspires us, or helps us to want to learn more about that topic or principle.
Last week I had one of those moments. It wasn’t necessarily an awe inspiring, life changing, burning bush moment, but a fun idea that Im looking forward to.
It was during Elder Bednar’s talk Saturday morning entitled, “Gather Together in One All Things in Christ”. The part that triggered my idea in his talk was when he quoted the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians…
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”
I loved that. I had the thought that we can look for and find signs of Christ, and his gospel principles all around us here on earth. We can find the gospel in everything. That we find the things of Christ in Heaven, and in Heavenly places is obvious. But, the fun part is in the second half of the phrase about finding the things of Christ “on the earth”. Those things are a little less obvious. But, If we look close enough, we can find these lessons in the most unlikely of places.
So, because I can only look on things here on earth, I thought I should start looking around to see what I could find. Also, because I’m sure all 3 of our readers are tired of reading about how swimming is hard, lets mix it up a bit. So, the obvious first place to expand our search for gospel lessons, is…..?
“Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss.
This literary masterpiece is a story of a seemingly annoyingly persistent little character named Sam, who, for some undisclosed reason, finds it necessary to try and convince the main character that green eggs and ham are delicious. He tries to offer them in a wide variety of places, situations, and with several differing scenarios. All in an effort to get the main character to try green eggs and ham.
The main character stubbornly refuses to even try them based on the obvious outward appearance of the green eggs and ham, and maybe in part by the relentless optimism and cheery disposition of Sam himself. Eventually, and mostly to get Sam to leave him alone, the main character actually tries green eggs and ham, and, to his surprise, he actually likes them. He then thanks Sam for introducing him to green eggs and ham and everyone lives happily ever after.
So, where is the gospel lesson in this story? To start, lets refer back to one of my favorite scriptures on how to gain a testimony. It comes from the New Testament in the book of John.
“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. -John 7:17
And, what about this famous one in Malachi, that invites us to try the Lord with regards to tithing?
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
And, of course, one of the most famous scriptures we know in the church, the scripture that in essence, triggered the restoration of the gospel.
”If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” -James 1:5
These scriptrues all have one thing in common, they are invitations to act, or to try. When we try, we gain a sure knowledge. We know for ourselves whether we like green eggs and ham. We know for ourselves because we live the gospel, whether its true or not. We know when we pay tithing, whether the Lord blesses us by opening the windows of Heaven. We know when we ask for wisdom in faith from God, that he provides answers.
But we need to jump in, we need to try green eggs and ham. We need to ask God and live the gospel as it is meant to be lived in order to gain a real knowledge of its truthfullness. It cannot happen in any other way. We can’t live hoping green eggs and ham are good because they have amazing reviews on yelp, or that our friends, or parents say they are.
We need to try them for ourselves. When we do, we know for ourselves.
From the book….
“You do not like them.
So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may I say.”
“Sam! If you will let me be, I will try them. You will see.”
“Say! I like green eggs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat! And I would eat them with a goat. And I will eat them in the rain. And in the dark. And on a train. And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good, so good you see!.
I do so like green eggs and ham!
“Hearken and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I Am, even Jesus Christ—“ -D&C 39:1