“Every Good Thing”

Author’s Note

Peter said that the Savior “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). What if he had said something slightly different: “he went about doing no evil”?

That’s true too, and it’s important for us to avoid sin, with God’s help — and when we fail at that, to remove it from our lives, also with God’s help. But it’s not enough simply to do no evil. We’re to do all the good that we can.

Short Take: More Than a Sower

Author’s Note

In Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23) seeds fall in different places. Some are eaten immediately by birds. Some fall in stony places with little soil, where the sprouts cannot endure the heat of the day. Some sprout among thorns and are overwhelmed. Some fall in good soil and bring forth abundant fruit.

These outcomes represent common responses to hearing God’s word. Respectively, some people reject it; some receive it joyfully but cannot endure persecution; some hear it but are diverted by riches and the world’s cares; and some accept and understand it and bring forth fruit.

If we take this valuable parable too far, we might forget that ours is a God of Second Chances.

Having spent my youth on farms, growing grain, alfalfa, potatoes, and cattle – while tending a half-acre vegetable garden at home – I am cannot see the end of this parable as the end of the story.

Consider what the farmer and gardener do. If the soil is weak and shallow, they build it up – with organic matter and sometimes by bringing in more soil. If the soil is rocky, they remove the rocks. If birds steal the seed, they find ways to repel the birds. If weeds intrude, they spray or pull them, so the crop is not choked.

Our Sower returns to plant again and again, working faithfully to improve the soil – harrowing up our souls, when necessary (2 Nephi 9:47; Alma 14:6; 36:12; 39:7) – until he has done everything a God can do to save his children (see Moroni 7:36).

Short Take: How Much Shall We Hope? For Whom? For How Long? Why?

Author’s Note

Mormon wrote that God’s ongoing work to save each of us will not cease, “so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one [soul] upon the face thereof to be saved” (Moroni 7:36).

The broken-hearted mother of a convicted murderer once asked a friend of mine, “Is there any hope for my son?” She knew stern scriptures on the subject.

The friend asked me. I answered, “I will not say that the infinite atonement is less than infinite. There is hope.” (See 2 Nephi 9:7; 25:16; Alma 34:12.)

How much, therefore, shall we hope? Far more than we do now.

How long shall we hope? Until the end of time, which is well beyond death. Until God has done everything that a god can do to save his child.

For whom shall we hope? For ourselves, surely, and for everyone we love. Indeed, for every other human soul. For the lost, the confused, and the apparently hopeless. For the lazy, distracted, proud, addicted, self-righteous, belligerent, rebellious, and, yes, for the criminal. For the lost sheep, the lost coin, the prodigal sons and daughters, and the vilest of sinners. (See Luke 19; Mosiah 28:4.)

Why shall we hope? The Savior said, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16; 1 Nephi 21:16).