My wife mentioned to me this past week that our yard is in pretty bad shape. Over the past few months, I pretended to not notice all the weeds, the grass turning yellow, and some of our trees dying. The outside physical structure of the house seems fine.. but everything surrounding our home that is suppose to be green and growing, and alive has begun to die and instead noxious weeds were taking over. It took someone to wake me up and point out the kind of "shape" our yard was in. Ever since we got married, the outside has always been my responsibility while the inside was my wife's responsibility. Her observation and comment could have been taken as a personal attack of my lack of diligence. But she was right. The truth hurts. So instead of debating the truth, and/or blaming the state of our yard on the heat and lack of rain, I spent the weekend in the yard pulling weeds. I am still not done, but our backyard now looks alot better.
Having a yard in bad shape is one thing.. but what kind of "shape" are we in personally?.. are we keeping our bodies in good physical shape? Do we exercise? eat right?.. How about our spiritual health?. are we emotionally and mentally in good shape? If not.. how come? What do we need to change? Does it take someone else to point this out to us? Do we need someone to call us to repentance?
I have been reading in Alma chapter 4. It is an important chapter that would make a good to study. The first 6 verses are very interesting. Alma had just baptized thousands of converts. Everything seemed to be in good "shape". There were no contentions or wars.. however, the people were afflicted due to loss of their brethren, flocks, herds, and fields of grain. Just like in our yard.. weeds will continue to grow and things will continue to die. These afflictions are like "wake-up" calls for us to stay humble and remember our constant stewardship to keep things in "shape".
The people of Alma were humbled due to their affliction, and now with a new sense of duty, they began to prosper. However within JUST ONE year, the people of the church began to wax proud. They were lifted up in the pride of their eyes.
"...the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure...and the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fail in its progress." Alma 4: 8,10
Could we liken this to our current situation? What kind of shape are we in as a church? Well, by the worlds standards we are doing quite well. It was reported on NBCNews.com that we rake in 7 Billion Dollars a year. Interesting article. Let's just hope we don't follow the same pattern that we read about in the Book of Mormon.